Monday, September 09, 2013

On the increasing risks to children on benefit long-term

In the Herald on Sunday Rodney Hide writes about the increasing likelihood of child abuse and neglect with long term benefit dependency:

A total of 76,000 New Zealanders were born in 1993. About 6000 were subsequently abused or neglected; 3000 became known to the Youth Justice system by the age of 17; and 41,000 - more than half - spent time in a household dependent on a main benefit such as the dole or DPB.
The benefit-supported children were six times more likely to be abused than those who were not benefit-supported. And they were 14 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice.
Those in households benefit-dependent for nine or more years were 13 times more likely to be abused and 29 times more likely to be known to Youth Justice.
Spending less than a year in a benefit-dependent household didn't increase the likelihood of abuse but doubled the chance of trouble with the law.
So the increasing risk for children isn't conjecture, it's factual.

But what about the risk of long-term dependence occurring?

10339 (2013). Jacinda Ardern to the Minister for Social Development (06 Aug 2013): What percentage, if any. of sole parents are estimated to be at medium risk of long term benefit dependency? 
Hon Paula Bennett (Minister for Social Development) replied: I am advised that the Ministry uses a range of ways to determine whether clients are considered medium or high risk of long term benefit dependency. Assessments take into account such factors as clients’ length of time in receipt of benefit, the level of their skills or qualifications, their communication skills (including whether English is a second language), any criminal history, and a range of other factors. Due to their caring responsibilities, sole parents are likely to spend longer periods on benefit than other jobseekers. At the end of June 2013, around 10% of sole parent clients were considered medium risk of staying on benefit long term, and around 90% were considered high risk. 

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