Consultation: A new voluntary parent support service

We’re designing a new voluntary service that supports parents who care for young children. The new service will be for parents who receive a parenting payment, to help them to plan for their future education and employment goals.


The formal consultation process closed on Friday 15 September 2023. Consultations were an opportunity to share input, thoughts and ideas for a new voluntary service that meets parents’ needs to deliver positive outcomes.

Who we're consulting

We’re consulting a range of stakeholders, including:

  • parents
  • advocates
  • community groups
  • experts
  • service providers
  • employers
  • the general public.

The new voluntary service will be for parents with young children who receive a parenting payment. We especially want to hear from people with lived experience of previous pre-employment programs for parents.

The consultation

The consultation will run from early July to mid-September 2023 and there will be ongoing opportunities to provide feedback.

We’ll engage in various ways to discuss options, ideas and solutions. There will be a mix of online and in-person engagement including:

  • forums and workshops
  • roundtables
  • surveys
  • an online consultation hub.

Different consultations will run at the same time. This will help ensure we capture a range of perspectives and ideas, in a short time.

Our approach has 4 phases:

  1. Pre-design: Seek people’s input to what our consultation should look like, and how our stakeholders prefer to participate (May to June).
  2. Design: Consult and collaborate to understand parents’ needs and goals, and the kind of supports we could provide (July to August).
  3. Check-in: Check-in with people about what we’ve learned, present our thoughts on what design could look like and get their feedback and advice (August).
  4. Design options: We’ll come back to people to talk about options, and seek their feedback and advice to inform our decisions (August to September).
Visual of the 4 phases of consultation process

What we'll discuss

The consultation will be an opportunity to better understand your needs and how a new service can support you to achieve your education or employment goals in the future. It will help us identify options for what the new service should look like. Together, we’ll talk about things like:

  • Parents’ needs: What support parents get now, and what challenges they have that we can help with.
  • Eligibility: Who can access the voluntary service, and which groups to prioritise.
  • Timing: When parents can access the service, and for how long.
  • Features: What features, information and support options to prioritise to best meet parents’ needs.
  • Delivery: How the voluntary service should run, and its service deliverers should operate.
  • Engagement strategies: What engagement strategies and incentives would encourage participation.
  • Funding: How to structure and prioritise the funding for the service.

We welcome discussion around the difficulties and complex circumstances you may experience as a parent who may be thinking about returning to paid work.

What you tell us will help build a service that offers the right support, at the right time, to help parents achieve their education or employment goals.

Updates about the consultation

You can subscribe to receive email updates about the consultation and the new service. We’ll use the newsletter to keep people informed about:

  • consultation news and updates
  • upcoming events, research or consultation opportunities
  • major program and policy decisions.

By subscribing, you’ll only receive emails related to the consultation. We won’t use the mailing list for any other purpose. You can unsubscribe and resubscribe at any time.

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