Authors: Dr Duc Dau and Dr Mariana Atkins
Having a child at a young age can disrupt education and increase the barriers to finding and keeping a job, potentially leading to long-term dependence on welfare and poorer life outcomes for caregivers and their children (Department of Social Services, 2016).
Evidence indicates that young parents often experience complex and pre-existing challenges, such as intergenerational cycles of disadvantage, unhealthy relationships, insecure or unsafe housing, mental ill health and distress, domestic violence and systemic barriers such as discrimination and exclusion.
The Career Readiness for Young Parents (CRFYP) program - a Commonwealth-funded project under the Department of Social Services (DSS) Try, Test and Learn Fund and delivered by Bridging the Gap - seeks to empower young parents to address barriers to their employment and gain critical skills for future work.
The program paired young parents with a facilitator who supported them through the processes of addressing non-vocational and vocational barriers, identifying a training course or career, searching for work and preparing for employment.
The program also provided access to free childcare and transport to program activities, along with financial support for study, referrals and living expenses if necessary.
The Centre for Social Impact UWA was contracted by Bridging the Gap to evaluate the program and assess its success in achieving its aims.
The report found that participants experience a high degree of satisfaction with the program. The multi-pronged approach, along with the dedication and mentoring skills of the facilitators, proved vital to the success of the program.