Monday, May 14, 2018

'Poverty' improperly blamed again

NewstalkZB is reporting on new Australian longitudinal research that links childhood background to the risk of being placed on anti-psychotic medications:

The study will be presented today during the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists Annual Congress in Auckland in front of a national and international gathering of experts.
The study was led by social policy researcher Amy Kaim from the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), cross matched with information from Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
"The preliminary findings indicate that a larger proportion of children and teens from disadvantaged families are being placed on antipsychotic medication than others in the general population," she said.
"A larger proportion of children and teens taking the medication were boys, in lower-income families, with an unemployed primary caregiver, who were living in single-parent households.

My contention is always that the family type is more important than the level of income. But the headline for this article reads:

Poverty link with children's mental health 'unarguable'

Noting that error isn't just a frustration on my behalf. It has ramifications.

Because the solution to alleviating the plight of these children automatically becomes putting more public money into their homes.

When told about the research Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft (who I used to rate as the Principal Youth Court Judge but has been disappointing in his present role) responded:

"There is an absolute desperate and long term need to right the wrongs of the last 30 years. It's all in our power to reduce the rates of income-related child poverty and material deprivation in New Zealand."

He's with those advocates who date 'poverty' back to the benefit cuts - "30 years".

I go back 50 years. 1968. Or thereabouts. The first DPB (the emergency benefit introduced by National). There has been a 50 year experimentation with funding one parent families and the results have been dreadful.

Here's a scenario for you. A young female, from an abusive family, herself now a single mother with three kids from different fathers all of whom have a smorgasbord of convictions, debt, periods of unemployment or imprisonment, drug habits and/or violent tendencies. Do you honestly think putting more money into her weekly benefit is going to change anything for those kids and their prospects?

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