Young Parents

As the median age of women giving birth increases, this can negatively affect our perception of young people becoming parents. 

Almost 15% of births are to parents under the age of 24.[1] Young parents have different needs to those of other age groups. For example many may be studying, and need to be supported with appropriate services and programs. Young parents may face disadvantage through early school leaving, having no or low qualifications, unemployment or low paid work, living in poor housing, experiencing depression or social isolation and being dependent on income support.[2] Support can be essential for young parents trying to achieve their parental goals while maintaining their health and wellbeing.

Providing support to young parents is crucial for the young person and their child/ren. Below are tips on how to help young people prepare to be parents. These tips are not intended to be exhaustive and workers should check out the More Information part of this section for further resources on supporting young parents.

  • Assist the young person to start planning early. You could help the young person to develop check-lists to help them both before and after the birth. They may need to consider things like budgeting.

  • Identify what other supports are available for the young person, both through the pregnancy and after. Does the young parent have a partner or parent that can assist them?

  • The young person may have difficulties informing their parents or other support people about the pregnancy, and they may want some help. First attempts may take some effort and patience. Encourage the young person to listen to their parents and support people. Encourage the young person to thank family members for listening once they feel like they’ve told them everything they want to.

  • The changes a young parent will experience throughout pregnancy and after may result in the possible loss of friendships. It’s easy for a young parent to become isolated and disconnected. Assist the young person to identify ways to keep in contact with their friends, as well as building new relationships.

  • Be aware that young people go through a lot of changes to become parents. Including the social and financial changes they will experience, young parents will experience changes in their body and possibly to their mental health. Talk to the young person about this. Young people with alcohol and other drugs and/or other issues may need change in these areas to be gradual.

  • Young parents will have a lot of new skills and things to learn. Encourage them to get in touch with useful resources, such as the library, Women’s Centre for Health Matters and young parenting support groups.

  • Link up to a GP the young person trusts. The young person may need to book in appointments for the length of their pregnancy. Free GPs can be accessed at the Junction Youth Health Service and the Sexual Health and Planning Centre (up to the age of 18 or full time students up to the age of 21).
  • The young parent may be eligible to access Centrelink benefits such as Family Tax Benefit Part A, Family Tax Benefit Part B, Parenting payments and the Baby Bonus. Visit www.centrelink.gov.au for more information. 

  • If the young parent needs housing for themselves and their child you may want to assist them to put in an application to Housing ACT. Application kits are available from Housing ACT in Belconnen, or Canberra Connect in Tuggeranong or call 13 34 27 for more information.

    Housing ACT Applicants will be required to show proof of identification, proof of income and proof of residency in the ACT for at least six months. Applicants who have not been able to access accommodation in the ACT, and have had to reside in Queanbeyan, may be considered. Once the application has been submitted, applicants will have to see an Assessment Officer. Clients/services can call in advance to try and make an appointment.

  • The young parent is also still developing physically, emotionally and intellectually. This process needs to continue. For example, if the young person wants to continue finishing their education, consider alternative education options such as CCCares (for young parents).


[1] ACT Health (2006), ACT Chief Health Officer’s Report 2006, p 168.

[2] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2003), Australia’s Young People: Their Health and Wellbeing.

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