Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Over half teenage mothers go on welfare

Media Release


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New information released by the Ministry of Social Development shows that more than half of first-time teenage mothers giving birth in 2007 and 2008 went on welfare.

There was a yearly average of 5,044 births to 15-19 year-olds in 2007/08. According to welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell;

"Around 2,800 mothers - or 56 percent - went on the domestic purposes benefit*. Of these mothers 48 percent were Maori, 30 percent were NZ European and 10 percent were Pacific. The most common age was eighteen. "

"What's more, an unknown number of babies will have been taken into the care of family or whanau and are being raised with the assistance of an Unsupported Child's benefit. A further unknown number will be second and even third births added to an existing benefit."

"Clearly teenage parenthood is a significant and ongoing cost to the taxpayer. But far worse than the financial implications are the social. Many of these children will be severely disadvantaged by impoverished environments, transience, exposure to the drug and alcohol abuse associated with 'partying' before and after birth, and subsequent poor health and educational outcomes ."

"This state of affairs has been let go for decades now. Although successive governments have played the intervention card via CYF and a host of other non-government organisations, the number of materially and emotionally ill-equipped young girls becoming teenage mothers continues unabated. It is a matter of urgency that the government takes a dispassionate and evidence-based look at why this is happening and what role the DPB plays in perpetuating the problem."

No comments: