This article explores an engagement process undertaken by Australian government social workers in one disadvantaged locality prior to the introduction of federal "teege parent" welfare reforms. The focus of engagement was to learn about young parents' experiences and aspirations, and to draw on this to inform policy implementation. Findings from engagement, and how engagement between social workers and young parents impacted local policy implementation are discussed, including the subsequent development of family friendly school options. The authors suggest that problematizing early parenting may itself be "risky," and may obscure opportunities for building on the parental role as a source of inspiration.