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 help eligible parents plan for their future education and employment goals.

On this page:


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 and delivers positive outcomes.

View public submissions on our consultation hub

What we’ve heard from parents

We’ve published a summary of what we have heard from parents. We invited public feedback on these insights, to check we didn’t miss anything important, misunderstood what we’ve heard, or placed the wrong emphasis on what parents told us.

Comment on the summary of what we have heard from parents

Who we're consulting

We’re consulting a range of stakeholders, including:

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

We especially want to hear from people with lived experience of previous pre-employment programs for parents.

The formal consultation

The formal consultation ran from early July to mid-September 2023. There will be ongoing opportunities to provide feedback.

We engaged in various ways to discuss options, ideas and solutions. There was be a mix of online and in-person engagement including:

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

Different consultations ran at the same time. This helped us to ensure we captured a range of perspectives and ideas, in a short time.

The approach had 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 discuss

The consultations are an opportunity to better understand parents needs and how a new service can support parents to achieve their education or employment goals in the future. It helps us identify options for what the new service should look like. Together, we 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 people may experience as a parent who may be thinking about returning to paid work.

What people 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.