Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Licence to parent

Simon Collins writes in the NZ Herald,

A high-powered expert group has proposed a kind of "parents' licence test" which all parents would have to sit to keep care of their children and to receive child-related welfare benefits.

The proposed assessment, similar to a driver's licence, would be administered when a baby was born and repeated when the child turned 1, 3, 5, 8, 11 and 14.

Parents found to have "risk factors" for child abuse, such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol problems or mental illness, would be offered help.

Judge Graeme MacCormick, a former Family Court judge who initiated the proposal, told a seminar in Auckland yesterday that parents who refused to accept help, or to be assessed, should have their child-related benefits suspended and possibly lose their children.


I am assuming from this that anyone who doesn't want to receive child benefits is exempt. But what will child benefits constitute? Many low income families get family support payments for each child. What about Working for Families payments?

There will be utter outrage from people on the DPB who will say they are being discriminated against. And they would probably have a case with the HRC. But if they want to live courtesy of the taxpayer maybe certain obligations should be imposed.

I always come back to the only satisfactory solution for a libertarian. Don't give them a benefit in the first place. If they maltreat or neglect their child it is a matter for the law.

UPDATE; My interpretation is wrong. Having checked with Simon he says the idea applies to ALL parents. Good God. Apart from the intrusion the logistics are crazy. That involves over 400,000 children a year whose parents will have to be tested.

10 comments:

andrei said...

"I am assuming from this that anyone who doesn't want to receive child benefits is exempt."

No Lindsay.

"A high-powered expert group has proposed a kind of "parents' licence test" which all parents would have to sit to keep care of their children and to receive child-related welfare benefits.

This is plain scary.

"Parents found to have "risk factors" for child abuse, such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol problems or mental illness

The definition Mental illness is a labile thing. Need I remind you that Homosexuality was a mental illness under the DSM3 definitions. Or that those who opposed communism in the Soviet Union were often placed in mental institutions.

Here is my post on it
God save us from "Experts"

Brian Smaller said...

Once again the answer is seen to e massive state intrusion into the lives of families who are not at risk. How about reforming welfare to get people off it. I would hazard a guess that child abuse statistics (and here we are talking of neglect, violence from family members and this week's Uncle) will drop accordingly. Telling me I have to have my parenting skills monitored will get the response "F*** Off"!

Dave Christian said...

This is a truly disturbing development being promoted worldwide. In the US, the Bush administration is proposing mandatory mental health screening of all children with mandatory medication as deemed fit by the government representatives. In the UK, proposals similar to these have been mooted, as well as talk of a database tracking the lives of all children whose births are registered (I suspect that the primary purpose of this is to attack unauthorised home (un)schooling).

The price of freedom....

Andrei said...

Indeed Lindsay the first sentence I quoted in my original comment is ambiguous.

Anyway since virtually every family in NZ receives family support it the abiguity is kind of irrelevant.

Don't you just love it, they take money from the Family in Tax, then give some (of the families own earned money) back in the form of "family Support" and tell you how generous and kind they are.

Sheer genius

andrei said...

Indeed Lindsay the first sentence I quoted in my original comment is ambiguous.

Anyway since virtually every family in NZ receives family support it the abiguity is kind of irrelevant.

Don't you just love it, they take money from the Family in Tax, then give some (of the families own earned money) back in the form of "family Support" and tell you how generous and kind they are.

Sheer genius

Brian Smaller said...

"Anyway since virtually every family in NZ receives family support it the abiguity is kind of irrelevant. "

I don't. Too responsible to breed kids I cannot support by my own labour and now don't have enough of them to take advantage of having the government give me back some of the money they took of me in the first place. However, I do have the privelege to see a guy who has a kid in my boys sports team breed eight kids he cannot afford to feed nut take home more money in the hand each week than I do - and he earns about half what I get as a gross salary.

I still say to the government F*** OFF and leave my family alone. THere is no way I will submit to any 'parental fitness' testing, compulsory or otherwsie.

Anonymous said...

There may be reasons for this type of testing, but surely it will increase the number of children who are 'relocated'(or in less PC terms the number of children taken off their parents). Addicts, alcoholics and hardened parents aren't suddenly going to change overnight. We're talking about years of ingrained behaviour and attitudes. Therefore the number of foster children has to increase.
Having a large number of children in foster care is no different from when unmarried woman, who couldn't afford to raise their children, had to to give them up for adoption or foster care which seems to be a far simplier solution.

Gloria

Lucyna said...

Welcome to facist NZ, where the children will be nationalised and parents will only breed at the will of the state.

This could almost be an unbelieveable idea, except for the number of people that wrote in to National Radio in support of it. So many people who loved this idea of controling others.

Lindsay said...

Gloria, Adoption is probably the better option. Fostering can also carry monetary incentives for some. Not to belittle the vital and valuable role many foster parents fulfil but we have gone from over 3,000 adoptions in the late 60s/early 70s to 300. Adoption has its problems but they pale in comparison to what we see when the most unsuited and unable become parents.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lindsay. More and more people who WANT to have children cannot. They are looking to Korea and Bangladesh because children in need next door are off limits. Abusive parents are given chance after chance to try again and the children's rights to a nurturing and loving family are denied.

If all school kids learned about child development at school, like they learn sex ed, there would be less to invest later at assessment time. It would also make the sex ed message more real, when they find out what it really means to have a baby and be a parent with responsibilities and sharing your life with someone small who needs you all the time. The importance of it all might come home.