Over three quarters of teen parents on welfare
Monday, July 11, 2011
According to data released under the Official Information Act, seventy eight percent of teen parents, mostly mothers, receive a benefit.
"As far as I am aware this is the first official confirmation of the very high level of dependence among teenage mothers, " welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell said in response.
"The statistics are drawn from a report made to the Welfare Working Group and show that the average length of time teen mothers spend dependent in the ten years after entry to the benefit system is 7.1 years and 40 percent have an additional child during that period."
"Young mothers were characterised by having experienced previous abortions, violence, depression and alcohol or drug issues, a history of teen parenting in family, whanau or peer group, older partners who introduced them to lifestyles not normally experienced by young women their age, failure to complete schooling, unresolved child custody and access issues and finally, a fatalistic attitude to pregnancy 'if it happens, it happens'."
"One immediately reflects on whether that fatalistic attitude would be different if benefits were not available and young parents and their families were expected to assume full responsibility for newborns."
"Sadly, as the report acknowledges, the likelihood of babies born to teen parents repeating their mother's disadvantage is high."
ph/fx 04 562 7944
mobile 021 132 5968
*Based on IRD Family Tax Credit data there were an estimated 6,000 teen mothers aged 16-19 for the year ending March 2009