Thriving 

young families 

Our transformative approach to backing young families wraps support around a young family tailored to their needs

Through our partnership with Hand Heart Pocket we are investigating what works for at-risk young parents and their children to thrive, and evaluating the effectiveness of integrated service delivery.

Research, evaluation and learning papers

Young parents often feel isolated and excluded. Their responsibilities as parents make it hard to spend time with friends and maintain friendships.

Young parents may find they have less in common with their non-parenting peers and have limited opportunities to meet other young parents. As a result, they can miss out on socialising with peers, which is important for their own development as young people. They can also find themselves with few people in their lives that they can really count on when they need support.

Peer support involves people with a common interest, who share life experiences and challenges, giving to and receiving support from each other. It is a reciprocal process that is helpful to all participants.

Thriving young families is trialling different strategies to better understand what works for building peer supports.

One thing is clear, it takes dedicated resources and perseverance to develop groups, build informal support networks and equip mentors to support other young parents.

Read our Peer support and connections research, evaluation and learning paper

Young parents are at risk of family violence and relationship conflict due to factors including developmental stage and lack of relationship experience, vulnerabilities of young parenthood, complex trauma and insecure attachments.

Young parents may be able to identify unsafe behaviour, however can struggle to identify unhealthy relationships dynamics. They are more likely to be able to identify this in other people’s relationships, but not their own. The stress, stigma and social isolation associated with young parenthood can bring relationship tension to the forefront as young people learn to navigate intimate relationships, co-parent and raise children.

Thriving Young Families has the opportunity to influence the early formation of relationships in young families. The initiative aims to foster respectful relationship skills and provide support when safety issues emerge to prevent harmful relationship patterns from escalating or becoming entrenched.

Family Resource Practitioners are in the prime position to support safe and healthy relationship skills and knowledge through relationship-based work.

Read our Safe and healthy relationships research, evaluation and learning paper