What is ParentsNext about?
ParentsNext can help you prepare for getting a job when your youngest child goes to school.
Everyone’s parenting experience is different. You might have taken a break from a job, or delayed training or study, to focus on your kids while they are young.
The thought of getting into work, training or study once your youngest goes to school can be hard.
Your ParentsNext provider can help you get your plans going again. The program is not about getting a job right now. Your provider can help you work out the steps you can take so you’re job ready when your youngest child turns six.
If you are eligible for the program, Centrelink will get in touch with you to discuss ParentsNext and connect you with a local ParentsNext provider.
What will I get out of participating?
ParentsNext helps you take steps towards your future goals. Steps might include getting into study or training, even if you’re returning to the same type of work after taking time out to look after your children.
Your ParentsNext provider will help you access local services and activities to support you as you work towards getting a job. Support may include help to access secure housing, financial advice, parenting courses, child care, transport, further education, training or volunteering.
Parents in the program have reported increased confidence, self-esteem, and a clearer sense of direction and motivation. Parents are also more likely to study or do training and increase their chance of finding the job they want.
Take a look at the stories of parents who have benefited from taking part in ParentsNext.
What do I have to do?
Go to your first appointment to find out how your ParentsNext provider can help you and what you can expect from the program. The first appointment with your provider is usually face-to-face in the provider’s office.
At your first appointment it’s important to talk about what you want and also to raise issues that might be worrying you. It is important to let your provider know about your circumstances, caring responsibilities, and the time you have available to do activities. Your provider will also ask about your strengths, skills and interests.
This discussion will help you work out your goals and put together a plan for the future.
Providers’ offices are family-friendly and you can bring your children along if you want to.
The plan you put together with your provider is called a Participation Plan. You are in control of your Participation Plan and you can update it at any time if your circumstances change. It outlines your goals, the steps you agree to take to reach your goals, and your requirements when participating in the program. If you are already studying, working part-time or volunteering, you can include this as an agreed activity in your plan.
You need to attend the agreed activities and appointments in your Participation Plan, and let your provider know that you are on track. You also need to report when you attend your activities and report any income to Centrelink.
Do I have to do ParentsNext?
If Centrelink refers you to a ParentsNext provider, then you have to participate in the program. This is part of your mutual obligation requirements for receiving your Parenting Payment.
It’s important you discuss your circumstances with your provider. If there are good reasons you can’t participate, for example due to personal or family circumstances, you may be eligible for a temporary exemption.
Do I have to look for work?
No, ParentsNext is a pre-employment program. This means you do not have to look for work or take up a job while you’re in the program. But if you want to look for work, your provider can help.
What if I can’t make an appointment or activity?
If you don’t meet the requirements you agreed to in your Participation Plan, your Parenting Payment may be suspended until you re-engage in the ParentsNext program.
If you can’t make it to a compulsory appointment or activity, you need to contact your ParentsNext provider before that appointment or activity. If you can’t contact your provider beforehand, your payment might be suspended. If this has happened, you should contact your provider as soon as possible after you miss a requirement.
We know unexpected things happen. If you miss a requirement and have a valid reason, for example if your child is sick or there’s a family emergency, your provider can reschedule your appointment or activity and restart your payment if it has been suspended.
If you can’t contact your provider before your required appointment or activity, your payment might be suspended. You should contact your provider as soon as possible after you miss a requirement. If your payment has been suspended, your provider will make arrangements for your payment to restart when you talk to them.
Want more information?
- Read the ParentsNext Frequently Asked Questions
- Speak to someone on the National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260 (free call from landlines)
- Find a ParentsNext provider in your local area
- Parents entitled to child care assistance can also check the Assistance with child care fees page on the Department of Human Services website.