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Plan For Teenage Parents Not Nearly Enough

Media Release

Plan For Teenage Parents Not Nearly Enough

Monday, September 18, 2006

Minister for Social Development David Benson-Pope has today announced funding of $7 million for eight people to work with teenage parents because he says, "Teenage parents and their children are a high-risk group that benefit from early interventions tailored to their needs.”

"While it is encouraging to see the Minister acknowledging that children of teenage parents are more likely to become offenders or long term unemployed, suffer from abuse or neglect," said Lindsay Mitchell, welfare commentator, "Eight teenage parent service co-ordinators are unlikely to reach most."

There are 2,947 18-19 year-old single parents currently on the DPB. Further single teenage parents rely on the EMA and other main benefits. Around 9 percent have more than one child.

The Minister needs to consider discouraging people from becoming teenage parents in the first place. For the group he is trying to address, contraceptive availability and education has largely failed because there are financial incentives acting against their use. Despite society recognising the high financial and social costs associated with teenage child-bearing, pregnancy isn't considered a problem by too many teenage girls.

Again we are witnessing government spending more money trying to solve problems of its own making. Mrs Mitchell finished, "I won't apologise for repeating myself. We have to stop paying babies to have babies."



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