Adoption push urged for teen mothers
Changes to the benefit system are being advocated as a way to lower the rate of teenage pregnancies.
Statistics released yesterday show teenage birth rates are on the rise again, with 30.2 births for every 1,000 15 to 19 year-olds.
Welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell says births to young mothers have become the state's problem, and it is wrong for mothers to be able to sit on the benefit until their child is 18 years-old. She says the benefit should have a limit of five years, as it does in the US.
She is also keen to see more young mothers encouraged to offer their baby up for adoption, as this is a better option for the child than raising it in a negative environment. She says if there is gang involvement, drug addiction or abuse it is not going to be healthy for a child.
Ms Mitchell says CYFS should be promoting adoption as an option for young mothers-to-be.
I was interviewed for this piece and said we could do what the US does and time limit the benefit to two years at any one time and five years over a lifetime. Personally I would go further by limiting any assistance to one year. Pre-DPB expectant and new mothers were helped through social security assistance. The major difference was it was discretionary and short-term. And it didn't provide an incentive.