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Caution: Parents of truants not always negligent

Caution: Parents of truants not always negligent

United Future education spokesperson Judy Turner says that the National Party call for 'docking family support payments' is attacking the truancy problem at the wrong end.

"Truancy is a significant problem in New Zealand, and our youth courts are filled with young people who stopped attending school well under the legal age," says Mrs Turner.

While prosecutions are already possible under current rules, Mrs Turner believes that more support needs to be offered for parents struggling with repeat truants.

"We need to look at where parents who have rebellious children should turn for help and advice, and whether this help is adequate."

Mrs Turner acknowledges that some parents have very oppositional children to deal with, through no fault of their parenting efforts.

"Only once we have made sure that there is an adequate support structure in place, will we be able to accurately identify the parents genuinely trying - but struggling - to control their teenagers, and those who are simply negligent.

"I agree we must clamp down on genuinely neglectful parents, for the sake of the children involved.

"This intervention must also be done early in the piece. It is far better and easier to assist kids to stay in school, than it is to re-integrate students that have long-since left," says Mrs Turner.

Ends

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