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|For the want of a nail: 'Parenting' the overlooked policy in Australia's social policy agenda?
|It is what parents 'do', more than who they are, that makes the difference to child outcomes. Australian social policy encompasses many areas that impinge on children and families: women, youth, children, marriage and divorce, ageing, but overlooks 'parenting'. Using documentary analysis relating to families, income support, parenting and child wellbeing, as well as evidence from LSAC and ATP, this paper will explore the significance of parenting in child outcomes and the need for parent-centered policies in Australia's social policy framework. Although parenting is the most important influence on outcomes for children and young people, most governments associate parenting support with crisis interventions, and overlook the need to provide parenting support throughout a child's life. Times are changing however. The UK Government's 'Every Child Matters: The Next Steps' recognizes that parenting support should be universal and accessible and include a focus on key transition points in a child's or parent's life. In Victoria, the Government has prioritized investment in children and undertaken significant reforms through the 'Every Child Every Chance' process, but overarching policy affirming parenting and providing accessible timely support for all parents, not just bad parents or parents of little children, is lacking. Parenting should be designated as a domain of public policy and all necessary measures adopted for supporting parenting and creating the conditions necessary for positive parenting. It is time to put away the concern that 'parenting' is a private matter alone.
|Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference: Families Matter, Melbourne.
|Policy -- Parenting; Policy
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checked on Feb 23, 2024
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