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ParentsNext—supporting you to prepare for future employment.

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.

ParentsNext changes

To help make activity reporting easier, the following changes have been made to ParentsNext:

  • If you are in full-time education and this is your ParentsNext activity, you will not be required to report your attendance for this activity.
  • For all other activities, activity reporting requirements will be reduced to no more than once per fortnight.
  • If an activity you have agreed to do does not require you to attend an event or location, or doesn’t occur at a specific date or time, you won’t have to report your attendance at this activity. Examples of these flexible activities include, but are not limited to, online study, research activities and work experience.
  • If you let your provider know your Centrelink reporting date, they will consider this when scheduling your activities and appointments to reduce the risk of you receiving a temporary payment suspension.

When do these changes take effect?

Parents commencing in ParentsNext from 15 July 2019 will have the reduced reporting requirements included in their Participation Plan.

If you are already a ParentsNext participant, your reporting requirements will be updated in your Participation Plan at the next appointment with your provider. Until then, you must continue to report as stated in your current Participation Plan. If you want to update your Participation Plan sooner, please contact your provider to reschedule your next appointment to an earlier time.

‘I had no idea just how taxing being out of the workforce would be on my confidence. The thought of going back to work, when the time was right, felt a little overwhelming. The best part of being part of ParentsNext has been having an instant support network that understands.’
Kierin, ParentsNext parent

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.

‘I never had a goal before I started ParentsNext and now I want to be a community worker.’
Jessica, ParentsNext parent

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.

‘My goal personally was to get into the workforce. Without ParentsNext I don’t even think I’d have the confidence to apply for jobs.’
Beth, ParentsNext parent

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 ParentsNext office has a children’s corner, so I can bring my son along to my appointments and he can play while we talk.’
Cally, ParentsNext parent

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.

‘The most important thing in a parent’s life is their children. But they forget about themselves. We quickly remind them, you are important!’
Mihi, ParentsNext provider

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.

‘ParentsNext are really lovely, and understand that being a parent is unpredictable and busy. They respect that your children are your first priority.’
Amy-Marie, ParentsNext parent

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