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Family joblessness Kate Furst & Paul Harkin The Benevolent Society Opportunities to promote pathways to education and employment
Who we are We are Australia’s first charity We are an independent, non-religious organisation established in 1813 We have been a catalyst for social change for 200 years, tackling some of Australia’s most difficult issues eg. Lobbying to abolish child labour campaigning and for the introduction of the old age pension Through our work we help people to change their lives Through our advocacy work we influence policy to fight for a fairer Australia
Who are jobless families? • 641,000families dependent on income support at February 2012 • 259,000 or 40% are jobless families(no earnings for > 1 year) • 219,000 (85%) are sole parents • 50% have a youngest child aged under 6 and have no requirement to seek work • Likely to be living in an urban area of locational disadvantage • Likely not to have completed Year 12 or equivalent • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children are 3 times as likely as non-Indigenous children to be living in a jobless family.
Impact on children’s wellbeing • 12 – 15% of Australian children living in poverty (UNICEF, 2008)
Unemployment & the wellbeing of children • Living in a jobless family is estimated to increase the probability that a child will have behavioural or emotional problems by 13% compared to living in a family with one or more employed parents.
Barriers to employment • Poor education • Disability • Domestic violence • Social isolation • Housing instability • Local economy • Lack of affordable child care • Transport – availability / cost • Financial disincentives • Suitable jobs Internal barriers External barriers
Opportunities for child & family services • Reduce barriers to pathways by addressing issues such as social isolation, domestic violence • Engage families via child & family services • Collaborate with integrated & co-located services; dedicated jobless family programs if available • Improve the education & employability skills of mothers by lifting the literacy and numeracy levels, life coaching/mentoring • Directly employ jobless parents or offer work experience
Opportunities for government Increase investment in programs which specifically target internal barriers to employment Increase invesment in programs for jobless families Provide individualised case management Reduce caseloads in employment and training services Provide access to quality jobs Ensure access to affordable child care Remove disincentives to work Invest in research and evaluation
Campbelltown Communities for Children • place-based, early intervention model for families with children under 12 years • works with two communities – Rosemeadow and Ambarvale • community consultations, evidence and best practice culminating in a community plan • brokered approach • strong focus on collaboration, coordination and capacity building • role to support parents affected by parenting payment reform
A Campbelltown example . . . Communities for Children Barriers: • Childcare & transport • Lack of skills, literacy issues • Suitable local employment • Self-confidence, anxiety, depression • Isolation – who helps out in a crisis? • Fear’s about children’s behaviour
What works for us? Should also involve . . . • relationship building with families • relationships with “hard to reach” • ‘warm’ assessment of need • good referrals out • good collaboration and coordination • relationships with JSAs/DES’ • service sector/community responses Soft entry points leading to . . .
What sits behind that? • strong/shared assessment and referral among services • strong collaborative networks • staff with the skills and knowledge • good relationships with employment service providers
Thank you For more information & to download the full report, visit www.benevolent.org.au