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United - Compulsory Mentors For Young Mothers

9 November 1999


United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, wants all teenage mothers to be assigned a compulsory mentor to ensure their children get the possible start in life.

Mr Dunne says 3% of New Zealand children start life disadvantaged.

“We know these kids run the risk of becoming just another awful statistic later in life – as either a victim, or an offender, and we want to take steps now to prevent those tragedies later,” he says.

Mr Dunne says United’s “Caring for Kids” policy promotes a home visiting programme for all new mothers to help them develop parenting skills.

“For young teenage mothers, who often lack the support they need, we would establish a compulsory mentoring scheme to ensure they had direct support and encouragement for the first few months of their baby’s life, to ensure they get the best possible start and avoid the risk of becoming just another statistic later on,” he says.

Mr Dunne says that the mentoring programme would be developed in consultation with agencies like Plunket, and would have a strong emphasis on child education, health and parental responsibility.

“This scheme is a practical recognition of the fact that the early years of a child’s life are the most critical, and will help ensure our most vulnerable children get the decent start in life they deserve,” Mr Dunne says.

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