Abbott government examines how to boost ‘parental competence’

The Age 4 November 2014
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews is looking at ways to boost “parental competence” and make sure Australians adapt smoothly to key “life points” – from going to school to having children and retiring.

In an address to a national conference on families and relationships on Tuesday, Mr Andrews will talk of the importance of early intervention and prevention to avoid family breakups which he says increases the risks of child neglect and self-harm, and alcohol abuse and unwanted sex among young people.

The Social Services Minister has tasked his department with developing a framework to “embed” early intervention and prevention into social services’ policies and programs.

“I believe the most effective assistance for families – and individuals – is to focus interventions on key transition or readiness points across the whole of life,” he will say.

“Maximising the capacity of people to deal with these life points can help improve the lifetime wellbeing of people and families.”

Mr Andrews will argue that people need to be “relationship-ready”, “child-ready”, “school-ready”, “life-ready” (in terms of emotional and financial skills), “work-ready” and “ageing-ready” (to ensure a productive and meaningful later life).