• Becoming a young parent is a big decision that can be at the same time very exciting and a little overwhelming. Here we have provided some basic information on practical issues to help you prepare. At the end of this section there is a list of organisations that can support you in your parenting choices.

    We would like to send a special thank you to Young Mothers for Young Women  and Young Parents Program (YPP) for their help in compiling this information

    Health info (you and your baby)

    The most important thing is looking after yourself to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. It is really important that you receive antenatal (or pregnancy care) as early into the pregnancy as possible. Antenatal care is important to maintain your own health and the health of your pregnancy. In the beginning, you may choose to receive care from your regular doctor, or you may prefer to deal with a midwife, obstetrician, or public hospital staff.

     Your doctor or midwife will provide you with lots of advice and support around nutrition, exercise and looking after yourself.  

     Once your baby is born Queensland Health can provide you with a range of free services for new parents. This includes:

    • An initial health check between birth and 4 weeks of age – at a clinic or sometimes at your home.
    • Regular Appointments and check-ups at your chosen clinic.
    • Courses in parenting.
    • Free childhood immunisation clinics.
    • Specialist services when you need some extra help.
    • Help and advice over the phone.

     More general information about pregnancy care and parenting can be found at the parenting section of this website.

     Caring for my child

    All new parents need help and support. Getting support from those closest to you like your, family or friends, is a great place to start. It might help to start thinking about what help you will need from those around you both during the pregnancy and after the birth and where else you can get some hel and support. This will depend on whether you will be parenting on your own or co-parenting with the baby’s father or someone else.

     There are also a wide range of services to support you in adjusting to your new life as a parent or provide you with any advice or information that you may need. You can speak to your local youth service, neighbourhood centre or your midwife or health visitor about local services. You can also contact one of the services listed below.

     Relationships

    While pregnancy can be a happy and exciting time it is a time when you are dealing with many changes in your life. This includes dealing with other people, such as the man involved with the pregnancy, husband and/or your partner. This can put pressure on your relationship

    Being able to work together to cope with changes in your lifestyle during the pregnancy and after the baby arrives is important. Newborn babies are very demanding and caring for them in the first few months can be particularly tiring If you have mismatched expectations about your roles in parenting and who does what in regards to household chores (and perhaps different approaches to parenting), this can place incredible demands on even the most stable of relationships. It is important to communicate openly and respectfully with each to maintain a healthy relationship. For more information go to our relationships section.

    It is normal for relationships to be challenging sometimes or even break down but it is not OK for someone to hurt you in a relationship. If you are experiencing physical or emotional abuse, help is available.

    Contact the numbers below for immediate help or referral to a local support service.

    DV Connect (women) Tel: 1800 811 811

    DV Connect (men) Tel:1800 600 636

     Money Talk

    One of the biggest concerns for women choosing to parent is around money to care for their child. Some of the main expenses will be for food, clothing, accommodation, transport, childcare and health care. Managing these expenses will depend on your circumstances but it is always a good idea to find out what payments you are entitled to from Centrelink.

    Everyone’s circumstances will be different but there are 2 main payments for parents received once their baby is born, either the Paid Parental Leave or the Baby Bonus. It is not possible to claim both of these payments. You can work out which payment is best for you by using the paid parental leave comparison estimator tool on the Centrelink website.

    • Parental Leave Pay will be available to working parents or those who have worked recently who meet the eligibility criteria and are the primary career. If you are eligible, you will be able to receive Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage, for up to 18 weeks.
    • Baby Bonus helps you with the extra costs of a new baby. You will receive approximately $5400 per eligible child in 13 fortnightly installments.

     You can begin the process for Centrelink payments three months before the birth of your baby. Call the family assistance office on 13 61 50 to start the process.

     While there is no specific payment for when you are pregnant, there may be other payments and services which may assist you during your pregnancy, such as Youth Allowance, Unreasonable to live at home Allowance, Disability Support and Newstart.

    There are a range of payments that you should ask Centrelink about, as you may be entitled to receive them. They include:

    • Family Tax Benefit Part A and B ( often called the small pay).
    • Parenting payment ( often called the big pay).
    • Maternity immunisation allowance.
    • Health Care Cards.
    • Rent Assistance.
    • Childcare Benefit.
    • Youth Allowance.
    • Disability Support.
    • Newstart.
    • Jobs, Education and Training Childcare fee assistance (JET).

    Centrelink also has a program called Centrepay. Centrepay is a voluntary bill-paying services which is free for Centrelink customers. Use Centrepay to arrange regular deductions from your Centrelink payment. You can start or change a deduction at any time. The quickest way to do it is through your Centrelink account online. You can use Centrepay to pay bills and ongoing expenses like rent, gas, electricity, water and phone, as well as other household costs.  

    Check out the Centrelink website or call 13 24 90 for information about payments, services and programs by clicking on 'Individuals ' and then going to targeted areas such as 'Parent or Guardian ', 'Studying or Training ', and 'Crisis or Special Help '.

     Young Mothers for Young Women Tips for Centrelink are:

    1. Take as much info as you can (ID, Letters etc.).

    2. Ask them to document on your file on the computer everything that was discussed that day.

    3. Be persistent – Keep querying until you get a response you are after.

    4. If you have concerns or need support at Centrelink, ask to speak with a social worker.

     

     

    If you still have no luck, try speaking with a worker at your local youth service. They might be able to advocate for you with Centrelink.   

     

    Accommodation and Housing

    Having a safe comfortable place to live and care for your child is very important. Some young women find living at home, with extended family or with their boyfriend is as a good option, if these people are a good support. But for many this might not be possible and there are lots of other options available.  You will need to think about what type of place will work for you and your baby. The main options are discussed below.

     Private Rental

    Renting your own place or sharing a rental property can work out well but it is important that it is affordable and suitable. Rental properties can be rented directly from the owner or, more commonly in Queensland, through an real estate agent. Available accommodation is listed on websites, such as www.realestate.com.au or www.domain.com.au. For more information on rental options and your rights check out www.rta.qld.gov.au.

     Social housing

    This is renting from the Government or from a community housing service and you normally need to have an income to apply. You must make an application to your local Department of Housing and have an interview to discuss your application. There is a long waiting list for social housing and key criteria to receive housing. This might mean that it could take a long time for you to get accommodation. To find out where your local office is call the Department of Housing Central Office on 1300 880 882.

     Short/Medium Term Housing

    This type of accommodation is normally managed by community organisations and often includes support programs; some are specifically designed for young women and their families. The time you can stay will vary and workers may live in the accommodation or may just visit regularly. You will need to make an application directly with the service provider.

    Rent is usually charged as a percentage of your income, so it can be more affordable than renting. Often units are fully furnished too.

    To find what is in your area call the Department of Housing central office on 1300 880 882 or contact your local neighbourhood centre or youth service.

     Emergency Accommodation

    If you need somewhere to stay immediately or for a short time there are emergency youth shelters, refuges or hostels where you may be able to stay for up to 3 months. They are usually supervised by workers and don’t always take families. For help call the Homeless Person’s Information: 1800 474 753 (free call number that assists people to find crisis accommodation).

     Housing Assistance

    Department of Housing central office on 1300 880 882.

    Homeless Person’s Information: 1800 474 753 (free call number that assists people to find crisis accommodation).

    Queensland Youth Housing Coalition 1800 177 107 or www.qyhc.org.au.

    Education and training

    Young pregnant and or parenting students in Queensland are entitled to the same training and education as other students. This is regardless of whether you are attending high school, TAFE or university and these rights are protected in Anti-Discrimination Act 1991.

    Education Queensland has policies around inclusive education and strategies for supporting pregnant and parenting students, to ensure that all state high schools are inclusive of pregnant and parenting students.

    This means that if you want to stay in school or want to go back to school you have the right to do so and the school must support you to do this. Schools have to provide appropriate arrangements to support pregnant and parenting students to complete their education through flexibility in:

    • Classroom and school management.
    • Curriculum design, teaching and learning strategies, and assessment.
    • Uniform/dress codes.
    • Temporary alterations in attendance.

    Unfortunately some pregnant and parenting young women still report experiencing a “hard time” or discrimination at school. Examples of discrimination that are unlawful are:

    • Refusing to enroll a young woman or young man because she/he has a baby or young child.
    • Advising or encouraging the parent/s of a pregnant or parenting student to withdraw their child from school on the basis of her pregnancy or her/his parental status.
    • Refusal to recognise and address the possible needs arising for young parents who must accommodate child care arrangements into their school day routine.
    • Lack of flexibility in the timetable.

    There are a small number of state high schools that provide support programs or childcare centres for pregnant and parenting young people. They all operate differently and can be contacted directly for more information.

    • POWER Program, Mabel Park State High School, Slacks Creek. Tel: 07 3489 2333
    • Southside Education, Sunnybank. Tel: 07 3344 1056
    • STEMM Program, Burnside State High School, Burnside. Tel: 07 54417300
    • Ipswich State High School. Tel: 07 38134485 (pregnant and parenting support officer but no childcare services)

    If you feel you've experienced discrimination or bullying it is important to speak with someone you trust, such as the Guidance Counsellor, Youth Support Coordinator, or another member of school staff. If you do not feel comfortable speaking with school staff you can contact your local youth service or one of the following,

    Youth Advocacy Centre 07 3356 1002 or www.yac.net.au (if you are under 17)

    Womens legal service (if you are over 17) 07 3392 0670 or www.wlsq.org.au

    To find out more about your rights and education check out

     Other education options

    In addition to mainstream schooling there a number of alternative education options that can work well for pregnant and parent young people.

    • Distance education - studying while staying at home by enrolling in courses via a number of institutions on correspondence or online basis.
    • Alternative Education Centres - which may provide on-campus support such as a crèche or child care centre or a designated area where parents can study, rest or feed their babies. An example is the Albert Park Flexible Learning Centre .
    • Tertiary Institutions - such as TAFE that offers education and training in a wide range of fields.
    • Home Education - where individually tailored education is provided by parents for their children. Within home education, parents are responsible for developing their own program for their child, conducting learning activities, setting assessment and monitoring the child's progress.
    • Open Colleges - provides distance education of nationally accredited, industry recognised vocational courses, with student support via a learning portal, called Open Space, where students can interact with each other and their trainers.
    • Other Programs- A number of schools in Queensland have specific programs in place to support pregnant and/or parenting students. Students can contact their nearest District Office to see if there is a program in their local area.[i]

    Employment

    If you are working you have certain rights under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act 1991. These rights are legally protected whether you are a full-time, part-time or casual employee. This means that if your employer attempts to sack you, reduce your hours, demote you or does not offer training because you are pregnant, then your legal rights may have been violated. For more information of if you’re not sure about your rights you can contact one of the organizations below.

    Fair Work: Tel 13 13 94 or visit www.fairwork.gov.au

    Queensland Workplace Rights: Tel 1300 737 841 or visit www.workplacerights.qld.gov.au

    Youth Advocacy Centre 07 3356 1002 or www.yac.net.au (if you are under 17)

    Womens legal service (if you are over 17) 07 3392 0670 or www.wlsq.org.au

    Department of Child Safety

    At Children by Choice many young women ask us about the Department of Child Safety becoming involved with them or contacting them. Your age is not a factor in relation to the Department and they will only contact you  if there is a significant concern for your safety or the safety of your unborn child, such experiencing domestic or family violence.

     If you are concerned about child safety issues please contact us or any of the organisations list below.

     

    iStock helpThese organisations provide support programs for young people pregnant or parenting. This is not an exhaustive list and if there is no service listed in your area please contact your local neighbourhood centre or youth service. 

    Brisbane

    Beenleigh Area Youth Service (BAYS): Beenleigh Tel: 07 3287 1290

     Brisbane Youth Service Fortitude Valley , Tel: 07 3252 3750

     Inala Youth Service, Inala Tel: 07 3372 2655

     Logan Youth and Family Services, Logan: 07 3826 1500

     Picabeen Community Association, Mitchelton: 07 3354 2555

     St Mary’s Support and Accommodation, Toowong: 07 3870 1767

     Young Mothers for Young Women, Westend: 07 3013 6000

     Young Parents Program: Kedron, Tel : 07 3357 9944

     Gold Coast

     YHES House, Southport, Tel: 07 5531 1577

     SCISCO Career Pathways, Southport, Tel: 07 5538 6600

     Cooloola Youth Service, Gympie. Tel: 07 5482 6188

     Sunshine Coast

     Integrated Family and Youth Service, Maroochydore. Tel: 07 5479 5898

     Maroochydore Area Youth Service, Tel: 07 5443 4543

     United Synergies (Noosa Youth Service). Tel: 07 5442 4277

     Toowoomba

    Young Women’s Place, Tel: 07 4639 4380

     Kingaroy

    CTC Youth Services-Kingaroy, Tel: 07 4162 7788

     Murgon

    CTC Youth Services-Murgon, Tel: 07 4169 5940

     Mackay

    Mackay Women's Centre, Tel: 07 4953 1788

    Rockhampton

    Girls Time Out, Tel: 07 4922 7509

     Northern Queensland

    Townsville: Queensland Youth Services Inc. Tel: 07 4771 3648

     YouthLink, Cairns: Tel: 07 4031 6179

     

    Useful numbers for parents

     13health ( 24 hour advice line): 13 43 25 84

    Womens health Qld wide: 07 3839 9988 or 1800 017 676 (outside Brisbane)

    Health Info Line: 07 3236 4833

    Parentline: 1300 301 300

    Pregnancy, Birth & Baby Helpline 1800 882 436 (24/7 helpline)

     

    Useful websites for parents

    www.babiestoday.com

    www.raisingchildren.net.au

    www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au

    www.havingababy.org.au

     

     



    Page last modified on: Thursday, 22 January 2015

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