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Teenage Birthrate Continues To Rise

Teenage Birthrate Continues To Rise

Figures released today by Statistics New Zealand show the teenage birthrate has risen again to 30.2 births per 1,000 15-19 year-olds.

This is the highest rate since 1997 according to welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell. "In the year to September 2007 there were 4,719 births to 15-19 year-olds - up from 4,341 last year. 49 babies were born to girls aged under 15 - a 53 percent increase on the previous year."

"Research shows the poorer communities are, the higher the teenage birthrate is. There are currently around 3,800 teenage parents on either the Emergency Maintenance Allowance (for 16-17 year-olds) or Domestic Purposes Benefit. While it is impossible to tell how many babies born to teenage mothers end up on benefits each year the percentage is obviously very high."

"In 1971, before the DPB became available and adoptions were still considered a sound option for very young mothers and their children, almost 4,000 babies were adopted out. Last year the number of adoptions had fallen to just over 300."

"Births to young mothers were once considered the responsibility of family and whanau. Today they are very much the responsibility of the state and will often remain the responsibility of the state for many years. With levels of child abuse and neglect, truancy, substance abuse, youth gang violence, etc. all apparently higher now than in the past, we have to ask whether favouring welfare over adoption has proven a good idea."

ENDS

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