ParentsNext is a compulsory Centrelink program for parents with children under 6 who receive the Centrelink Parenting Payment. It is stated by the government as intended to assist single mums to prepare towards study and work goals, however it often creates more stress and adversity than help
The ParentsNext program raised so many concerns that it prompted a recent public hearing with a Human Rights Committee at Parliament House in Canberra.
With Parents Next proving difficult for single mums to navigate, Terese Edwards of the NCSMC gives her expert tips to help negotiate this challenging program.
Hacks and tips for single parents on Parents Next
- Commence with the minimum activity within a program which is One. If personal circumstances are such that there is capacity to increase that activity, do this outside of the Job Plan which reduces the prospect of a suspension.
- There is now a two-day warning, before suspension, and as suspension can be a product of the Provider not completing their data correctly, try and avoid an activity on a Friday as it is stressful entering a weekend with a suspension of payment.
- Be clear about the compulsory attendance and the rules which are on the ParentsNext website. Women are incorrectly referred. Babies must be at least 9 months old.
- Exiting ParentsNext can be undertaken by either Services Australia or the Parents Next Provider.
- If women are in the post code area and want to voluntary participate, this is available from 1st of July 2021. They will be able to access the Participation Fund and workplace subsidies for the employer.
- All compulsory participants to ask for assistance through the Participation Fund, the fund is underutilised and accessed. Ask about workplace subsidies.
- Ensure that the Providers talk about the available exemptions, and if you want to exit, they can do this at the first interview. It would be your choice if you wanted to stay as a voluntary participant.
- It is your Job Plan, and the activity must be agreed to by you.
- Check to see if there are phone and/or an SMS texting capacity, which is important if you or your child is unwell, or if there are other life circumstances affecting you being able to attend an activity.