Assoc Prof Tim Moore, Alex Cahill, Sebastian Trew (Institute of Child Protection Studies); Dr Stewart McDougall (University of Edinburgh; Dr Sarah Cox, Ebony Tucker, Dr Martine Hawkes (University of South Australia)


South Australian Early Intervention Research Directorate


Across Australia, young people who have experienced maltreatment and/or engagement with child protection and homeless systems are more likely for their children to be removed from their care than others. This study aims to build the evidence about ways that multigenerational child protection engagement might be reduce by understanding young people's aspirations towards parenting and relationships.




In 2021, the South Australian Department of Human Services (the Department) funded the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia (ACCP) to conduct a study to better understand the needs and experiences of young people who had experienced maltreatment or who had been otherwise engaged in the child protection or youth homelessness systems. The study was guided by a series of research questions, including:

  • What are the broad aspirations of young people, and specific aspirations related to parenting?
  • What influences young people's aspirations for parenting?
  • What are the implications for policy and practice?

After completing this study, the Department was interested in exploring the experiences of young people who become parents. They commissioned the Institute of Child Protection Studies to conduct a nested study to consider the experiences of young people with experience of out-of-home care or homelessness who had become parents before turning 25. The nested study aimed to answer the broad research questions, while also considering:

  • What is the nature of the pathways to parenting of young parents with adverse childhoods?
  • Do aspirations (including towards parenting) influence or match their intent and behaviours?


Moore, T., Cahill, A., & McDougall, S., (2022). I wasn't quite ready: The aspirations and pathways to parenting of young people who are parents. Melbourne: Institute of Child Protection Studies, Australian Catholic University.

McDougall, S., Moore, T., Cox, S., & Arney, F. (2023). Parenting aspirations of Australian young people who have experienced adversity: "I'll work on everything else before working on having a kid". Children and Youth Services Review, 145, 106715.


Tim Moore for further information.

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