The Tasmanian Government has no specific policy for young parents or pregnant teenagers. However, a young parent’s right to education is protected by Australia’s anti-discrimination laws. In recent years there have been changes to education legislation, that make it compulsory across Australia to stay in school until you are 17 or 18, unless you have an approved alternative like going to TAFE. The Department of Education Tasmania also has a clear policy that schools are responsible for putting supports in the place that students need when they are pregnant or parenting to stay in school. However, there is little evidence that the systems required to accommodate the needs of young parents are in place.
Dr Marie – live webchat for support with an unplanned pregnancy, freecall: 1800 003 707
Karinya Young Mums program addresses the needs of young parents and pregnant young women aged 15-19 in northern Tasmania by providing an early intervention service that includes accommodation with intensive wrap-around support, targeting the individual needs of parents and their children.
Uniting – We offer support to pregnant women and parents under 25 to help them build the skills and knowledge to be the best parents they can be. Participants can network with others at weekly support groups in Launceston, George Town and Bridgewater with guest speakers, information sessions and social activities available.
Programs for young parents that are not now available:
Dept Health & Human Services Program – CU@home – offered by the Child Health & Parenting Service for first time parents 15-19 – nurse home visits for first two years.
Youth Network of Tasmania – Advocating for targeted programs for young parents aiming to support them to reconnect or stay connected in education and training during pregnancy and following birth and support programs and parenting skills classes to be made available and targeted to the specific needs of young parents.
Anglicare Tasmania – Housing Outreach and Parent Employment service in Burnie providing supported accommodation for young parents.
Hobart City Mission – Small Steps – providing safe, secure accommodation, helping young mothers successfully transition into the community and parenting skills