29 March 2023
Brave Foundation supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and The Voice to Parliament. Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution is long overdue.
As a part of Australia’s reconciliation journey, enshrining a Voice to Parliament will deliver fair, practical change for First Nations people and communities.
Ensuring that the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are guiding our nation in issues of public policy will have long lasting positive impacts for our country as a whole and more specifically on the outcomes for First Nations families, children and young people.
Almost one third of our program participants are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander*. Repeatedly we see them overcoming barriers caused by repeated injustice generated and compounded over centuries.
A Voice to Parliament is a major step towards correcting the entrenched inequities that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face, by ensuring culture and country are considered and respected in decisions affecting Australia’s First Nations people.
Providing meaningful opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to contribute to social, health and economic issues will ensure families will thrive for generations to come. The health and prosperity of this country rests on assured wellbeing of families, children and young people, which must include First Nations families, children and young people. We hope to see all Australians walking alongside First Nations peoples on this journey.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants, partners and Brave’s Working Reconciliation Group have had an opportunity to contribute their thoughts and feelings regarding the Voice to Parliament and this will continue to inform Brave’s position.
Brave recognises that not all individuals, communities and First Nations leaders are in agreement regarding The Voice to Parliament and we hope for continued discussions guided by First Nations people.
Brave acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this nation as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which our organisation works. We pay respects to Elders past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded.
*In December 2022, Brave had 247 young parents in the Supporting Expecting and Parenting Teens program. Of which, 29% identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
2 March 2023
Brave Foundation is encouraged that young parents’ voices were heard and considered in the Workforce Australia Committee’s interim report.
“I am glad that young parents, particularly teens, have been specifically identified as needing more intentional and bespoke support because they carry a complex load of responsibility at a critical time in their lives – when they are both developing themselves and raising their children,” Brave CEO Jill Roche said.
The interim report’s recommendation (released this week) to design and implement a specific service for teenage and young parents was welcomed by Brave.
This follows a submission by Brave to the inquiry in late 2022 and appearance by CEO Jill Roche at a public hearing in January. Brave was pleased to note points it raised during this engagement process in the report.
Ms. Roche said the recommendations were a positive start to ensuring all Australian parents, including young parents, First Nation families and those from diverse backgrounds, receive the support they need, particularly during times of increased vulnerability.
“It is so important that the rights of young parents are observed and their voices heard. We were proud to be able to amplify these voices at the parliamentary inquiry and are encouraged that this was heard by the committee, as evidenced by the comments and recommendations in the interim report.”
“A co-designed program is recommended in the report, however directly drawing in the contributions, ideas and voices of those with lived and living experience should be non-negotiable. I believe Brave is in a position, through a careful process of consultation, to be able to support the inclusion of teen parents in any future program design.”
Ms. Roche said the value placed on the role of caring was a critically important call out in the report.
“We were particularly pleased by the report acknowledging the value of the role of parenting and a parent’s right to choose to actively parent their children. This is especially heartening to young parents who face judgment and stigma in relation to their role as a parent.”
The most welcome of the Committee’s recommendations are:
Brave also echoes the Committee’s recommendation that significant changes are made immediately, on an interim basis, to the current ParentsNext program to address the serious concerns outlined in the report for a narrow group of parents – with young parents being prioritized.
This may include young parents with children under the age of three provided the option to immediately exit the ParentsNext or be referred to age-appropriate services such as Brave’s Supporting Expecting and Parenting Teens program.
While the initial recommendations are promising, there is opportunity for continued discussion in a number of areas, including:
“We are hopeful there will be opportunity to go even further and think about what happens in the earliest of the first 1000 days, where teenagers are pregnant and potentially having to navigate school, work and health appointments while preparing for the impending arrival of their baby.”
For Media Enquiries, contact Nicole Williams: 0476 002 739 or email@example.com
1 February 2023
In an Australian first, young parents will have access to highly sought after sleep support for their babies, as part of a new partnership between the Brave Foundation and Baby Sleep School.
Sleep deprivation is a common complaint of new parents, but for those who are still navigating their teenage years, the transition to parenthood can be infinitely more challenging.
Baby Sleep School has joined forces with the Brave Foundation to provide free and on-going sleep help to families in need of support. Those involved in the new initiative will receive a personalised sleep plan, detailed advice around their babies sleeping needs at every age, and access to Baby Sleep School’s team of qualified baby sleep consultants.
“In the past 10 years almost 80,000 new mothers were aged under 20 at the time of the birth of their children, and like all new parents they need a village of support around them as they embark on their parenting journey,” said Brave Foundation CEO Jill Roche.
“We are so pleased to create this partnership with Baby Sleep School to ensure young parents are also provided with valuable guidance around their child’s sleep. Now participants in Brave’s program will be able to access additional help to ensure that they, and their children, are getting the rest they need in a safe and supported way.”
The Brave Foundation is a not- for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting these mothers and fathers from pregnancy and through the early years of parenting, and now sleep support will be added to the list of resources, education and referrals that Brave provides.
”The data is clear – young mothers are one of Australia’s most disadvantaged groups,” said Marissa Wallis, founder and CEO of Baby Sleep School.
“Parenthood is demanding, and young parents face many of the same challenges as other parents, as well as other adversities”. We want to help these young parents by increasing their parenting skills and giving them confidence”.
The role of the qualified Baby Sleep Consultants at Baby Sleep School will be understanding the individual Parents’ needs arising from their personal history and current life situation. As well as the shared and individual needs of young parents to then develop services that respond to these needs.
“We want to ensure these mothers and fathers are far better supported, and one of the ways we can do that is by providing education and information around a baby’s sleeping and feeding needs,” she said.
“There is significant research to show sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of things like brain fog, mood swings, and post-natal anxiety and depression, so supporting these young parents to improve their baby’s sleep – and in turn their own – is imperative.”
To learn more about Baby Sleep School can be found at sleepschool.co
5 January 2023
Teen pregnancy and parenting in Australia has declined in line with the national fertility rate during the early stages of the pandemic. Yet birth rates to young parents (aged 19 years and under) are continuing to increase in a number of rural and regional areas of Australia.
The Annual Population Statement, to be released in full on Friday, expects the overall national fertility rate to continue to fall. However, current data for births to young parents indicates this trend will not be reflected across all areas of Australia. In communities that are already experiencing disadvantage, the birth rate for young parents is likely to remain the same or, in some cases, increase.
Young mothers are one of Australia’s most disadvantaged groups and the relative disadvantage has increased over time. They are more likely to rely on income support payments, have lower levels of education and are less likely to be partnered by the time they reach their 30s than women who were not young mothers.
Young parents are also likely to experience more entrenched barriers to work and/or study in addition to the challenges of raising a child.
Brave Foundation Chief Executive Officer Jill Roche said the data demonstrated that more resources were needed to support young parents to fulfill their goals and lessen the likelihood of long-term reliance on welfare to survive.
“At Brave Foundation we know that young parents are tenacious and resilient and can achieve the goals they set for themselves when they have the right support in place.”
“The predictions in the annual population statement pose a major risk for workforce shortages and so it is particularly important that young parents are supported to reach their potential.”
“We mentor young parents across the country, many of whom are pursuing careers in aged care and early childhood education. The fact that young parents are choosing to prioritise training to work in these fields just shows how committed young people are to contributing to their own community.”
“Young parents know better than most how important it is to have a village of support around you at a time of need, and this is reflected in the choices we see them making when thinking about school, training and work.”
Brave Foundation recently submitted a response to the Federal Government’s Inquiry into Workforce Australia Employment Services specifically providing recommendations relating to the ParentsNext program. The submission calls for long-term sustainable resourcing to support Brave’s Supporting Expecting and Parenting Teen program, for age limits relating to parenting payments to be extended and include the pregnancy period and for any parenting support programs to be voluntary.
For Media Enquiries, contact Nicole Williams: 0476 002 739 or firstname.lastname@example.org
20 December 2022
Brave Foundation is proud to present our 2022 Impact Report.
Our 2022 Impact Report will hopefully give a sense what we have focused on over this last year. It’s been a very full year with many small moments of impact contributing to Brave’s story this year.
Read the CEO’s Message below and download the full report.
It’s hard to capture in a few brief paragraphs just how remarkable the last year has been. With support from our incredible partners, we have been able to significantly grow our capability and capacity – extending our reach to support many new young parents.
Drawing from the lessons and insights of Brave’s early experiences, we focused on strengthening the quality of the program, building new ways to measure our impact and sharing more about the successes of the incredible parents we work with.
Our mentors walk alongside inspiring young parents and their children all around the country, in person and online. They are the heart and soul of Brave, supported by our Program Support team in Hobart and our Melbourne Head Office.
As CEO, I am privileged to frequently meet with our team, our Board, our partners, and our program participants. Every exchange I have affirms the shared commitment of all to seeing young parents, their children and their future generations thrive!
I am incredibly proud of the results that we can share in our first Brave Impact Report. It is reflective of the commitment of our small team and it is a tribute to the tenacity and potential of all young parents.
4 October 2022
Brave Foundation has announced the appointment of its new senior leadership team. This marks a significant milestone as Brave embarks on a journey of growth.
CEO Jill Roche welcomed the appointments and reaffirmed Brave’s pride as an organisation founded, designed, and led by women with lived experience.
“At Brave, we have always been informed by lived experience and it is encouraging to know that every woman in our Senior Leadership Team, myself included, either has direct lived experience or a connection to someone significant in their life with lived experience of teen pregnancy and parenting,” she said.
“The Senior Leadership Team and everyone at Brave has a genuine and personal belief in the boundless potential of young parents. We are focused on building a village of support and acceptance around expecting and parenting teens. We know that passion for our purpose is a strong motivator to deliver great results!”
The new senior leadership team includes:
Head of Program, Catherine Cooney, joined Brave in April 2022 and was previously an Advanced Practice Lead and Social Work Coach at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. Catherine is passionate about improving opportunities for women who are parenting and experiencing adverse circumstances, as she is acutely aware of the barriers that young parents face having started her own parenting journey at 20.
Micaela Drieberg, as Head of Government Relations & Partnerships, brings overs 20 years’ experience across multiple for-purpose sectors including working with all levels of government, including as a former Ministerial Adviser and Mayor of the City of Monash. She has also taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses with a number of years lecturing in health policy at Monash University.
Head of Transformation, Sue Wilson brings a wealth of knowledge in child and family services, recently working as Program Manager for a new Victorian reform for the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. Sue has experience in child protection, intensive family services, Coroner’s Court and Court Support Services, early parenting centres and development of Best Start and Communities for Children, and specialist family violence programs.
Kate Derrick has been appointed Head of Operations and has been working with Brave since February 2022, working closely with the CEO. Prior to joining Brave, Kate supported the World Vision Australia Board and assisted the Company Secretary with the governance function at World Vision Australia in addition to extensive experience in executive administration.
“These appointments reflect Brave’s deep commitment to seeing future generations thrive and we are invigorated for the Senior Leadership Team to lead us bravely into the next chapter,” Jill said.
Since 2018, Brave Foundation’s Supporting Expecting and Parenting Teens program has supported young parents to achieve goals in the areas of education, workforce participation, health, and wellbeing, as well as providing support for those requiring financial or housing assistance.
31st May 2022
31st Jan 2022
After successfully securing additional program funding to enable the continuation of their ‘Supporting Parenting and Expecting Teens’ (SEPT) program, national not-for-profit Brave Foundation is set to expand their organisational operations, appointing a new CEO and establishing a new ‘Social Economic Empowerment Division’ (SEED).
In her new role as inaugural Social Economic Empowerment Ambassador, Brave founder and former CEO Bernadette Black AM will lead the division in its goal of developing policy and funding approaches that intersect with multiple government departments, streamlining service delivery to better assist Australia’s most at risk young families over the long term.
“Over the next five years, our vision is to establish a ‘pre-social services sector’. By increasing the resources available to early prevention non-profits such as Brave, we will generate social and economic empowerment not only in the young families we engage, but their communities and our nation as a whole”, Bernadette says.
“I firmly believe Australia can lead the way in transforming our traditional government systems so that assistance can be accessed easier and earlier by those that need it most, allowing for longer lasting and more meaningful impact.”
Former World Vision Australia executive and newly appointed CEO, Jill Roche, has been a key contributor to Brave’s operations and strategic planning since joining the organisation as Chief Operating Officer in October 2019. Her significant leadership experience in the not for profit, consulting and corporate sectors has assisted Brave’s transition from trial phase to full-service implementation and service expansion.
“I am excited to be leading Brave as we work to increase our reach and impact nationally; this role feels like I am coming full circle after starting my own parenting journey as a single mother of twins at the age of 20. I have a deep appreciation for the potential of teen parents, knowing they are tenacious, adaptable, and caring members of their families and communities.”
To read the full media release, please click here.
22nd May 2021
National not-for-profit organisation Brave Foundation is set to receive $6 million to deliver their expanded SEPT program across Australia, under the federal Office for Women’s ‘Women’s Leadership and Development Program’. This funding will allow Brave to support over 1000 young parents over the grant period of 2020/21 – 2023-24, with a particular focus on supporting young mothers to engage with workforce and education opportunities.
CEO and Founding Director of Brave Foundation Bernadette Black AM said the new grant signifies a major commitment from the Federal Government in ensuring the futures of young parents and their families.
“We have countless young expecting and parenting women knocking on our door – this funding will allow us to open that door and empower these women so they can reach their boundless potential,” she said. “This is a watershed moment for some of the women most at risk of disadvantage in Australia and will have positive impact for generations to come.
“We are so grateful to be able to continue the momentum of our successful SEPT trial, and to move into this next chapter of growth, expansion, and learning alongside our program participants.”
To read the full media release, please click here.
From Left to Right:Brave Foundation CEO and Founder Director Bernadette Black AM, Prime Minister the Hon. Scott Morrison; Brave Foundation COO Jill Roche; Brave Foundation Chief Mentor Manager Allison Levinson; Brave Foundation Mentor Katrina Higgins, at Ravenswood Child and Family Centre, Ravenswood Tasmania, 22nd May 2021.
Brave Foundation CEO and Founding Director Bernadette Black has been appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia.
Her appointment is for significant service to youth, communities and local government in Australia.
Brave Foundation Chair Professor Maria Harries AM said: “Bernadette’s history of creativity and innovation, along with her determination and commitment to civic life, demonstrate the sort of attributes we should be encouraging in Australia.
Click here to read the full press release
National not-for-profit organisation Brave Foundation has announced the appointment of Dr Maria Harries as its Chair.
Professor Harries joins the Board following the retirement of previous Chair Gary Lottering, who was Chair for two years and has been on the Board since 2014.
CEO and Founding Director of Brave Foundation Bernadette Black said Professor Harries would bring extensive and relevant experience to the Board as its newly appointed Chair and director.
Click here to read the full press release