Using a Human Centred Design approach with Young Parents: Let’s not leave them behind
Young Parents are among the most vulnerable of parenting groups in Australia. 2015 statistics show that 1.5 % of births were to people under 18 years of age, accounting for over 4500 births.
Young parents experience multiple factors that place them and their children at risk including; homelessness, financial distress, mental and physical health concerns, relationship breakdown and social isolation. These factors can have significant impact on their wellbeing and that of their children. With this in mind, it is necessary for young parents at risk to access supports such as parenting support programs, child and infant health services, play groups and day care. Many young parents find these intended supports can lack empathy for their circumstances, trigger feelings of shame and inadequacy thus reducing the likelihood of engagement. These experiences render young parents at greater risk of being left behind and when they are left behind, so are their children.
There is much written about the importance of early engagement with health and education in determining outcomes for children, especially in relation to school readiness, much of this occurs in the first 1000 days with exposure to peers and peer groups. For this reason it is important to engage young parents in supports early in their parenting journey.
In April 2018 the Young Parent Support Service operating in the Western Australian LGA of Gosnells undertook a project to improve engagement of young parents in support. Central to the project was the application of a Human Centred Design (HCD) framework.
Within the Community Services sector, much attention is being given to the inclusion of service users in the design of services. Young parents, due to the complex nature of their circumstances, have rarely shared their perceptions and experiences of services designed for them.
The HCD process aimed to gain a deeper and richer understanding of young parents’ experience, identified barriers to engagement and to ideate and prototype new possibilities for service delivery.
The 30 minute presentation at the FRSA conference will describe the client cohort, the HCD process, the key learnings as well as implication for future work in this area.
Linda Jenkins, BA and BPsych ( UWA) , Grad DIp Counselling (Curtin) has worked with AnglicareWA for 10 years. Originally working as a Counsellor in Family Separation services,, Linda now manages a wide range of workers and programs ranging from financial counselling to suicide postvention support operating within the Perth metropolitan area. Across all programs Linda has a passion for creating responsive and impactful services, designed with outcomes for service users in mind. Prior to her work in the Not for profit sector Linda worked for the State Government in OHS and training and development . Linda is also a mother of three children and enjoys cooking, travel and playing golf.