Support for young parents has been a neglected area of policy and practice development in Australia. However, there is now increased focus on addressing the needs of young parents and their children at both state and federal government levels.
Young maternal age is strongly linked with poor outcomes for both mothers and their children, including: adverse physical and mental health; poor educational attainment; welfare dependency and poverty; and intergenerational involvement with the child protection and criminal justice systems. However, effective cross-sectoral support across health, education and social services can prevent adverse outcomes and break the multigenerational cycle of adolescent parenthood. The literature review identifies key elements of effective approaches.
The review aims to summarise both the Australian and international literature. However, because of the limited number of relevant Australian studies, international studies are relied on heavily, including studies from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.