Single parenting, co-parenting, and post-separation families: Challenges and opportunities in times of crisis

This event has now finished. Scroll below to explore the workshop slides.

The workshop will feature keynote addresses from Dr Moeata Keil (University of Auckland), Professor Kathryn Edin (Princeton University), and Professor Kay Cook (Swinburne University). In addition, there will be a lived experience panel moderated by Ms Terese Edwards (CEO of the National Council for Single Mothers and their Children), and a Q&A panel with diverse stakeholders including Professor Maggie Walter (University of Tasmania), Professor Shelley Mallett (Brotherhood of St Laurence) and government and non-government representatives, moderated by Professor Janeen Baxter (The University of Queensland).

While the covid pandemic dominated our attention over the past few years, other crises have raged in the background: The climate crisis and associated extreme weather events. The cost-of-living crisis. The housing crisis. The crisis of domestic and family violence.

The impacts of these crises on families are profound. This is especially the case for vulnerable families who do not fit the normative nuclear family model. Today, almost one-in-five Australian children live in a single parent family. These children have a poverty rate of 44%, which is more than three times the poverty rate of children living in couple families (13%). Another 9% of children live in blended or step-families. Yet, as a society, we seem to give little thought to how to support these diverse and often vulnerable families during increasingly precarious times.

The aim of this workshop is to exchange knowledge and build enduring research and translation collaborations on the unique challenges and opportunities facing single-parent and post-separation families in times of crisis.

The workshop will consist of the following activities:

  1. Keynote speeches from academic experts on single-parent and post-separation families
  2. A lived-experience panel, moderated by Australia’s foremost advocate for single parents, Terese Edwards (CEO of the National Council for Single Mothers and their Children)
  3. A Q&A session with representatives from government and non-government organisations with a stake in this issue
  4. Evidence snapshots presented by Life Course Centre researchers working on this topic
  5. An interactive collaboration workshopping session. Participants will brainstorm the most important research gaps and areas for action, and then break into groups to design collaborations built around identified topics and goals

Topics to be explored include, but are not limited to:

  • Child support payments
  • Co-parenting dynamics
  • Post-separation families and gender (in)equality
  • Domestic and family violence
  • Single parents and the tax and transfer system
  • Housing
  • Poverty and child wellbeing outcomes

Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash

Date & Time

Fri, 23 June, 2023

9:00 am – 4:30 pm (AEST)


    Melbourne, Australia




The Australian Sociological Association