Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Concern more children will be raised in poverty

From Stuff today:
One in five Kiwi children are now being raised in households reliant on benefits, sparking fears that children are "starving in the age of the recession".

The number of children living with beneficiaries is up 15,000 in the past year to 226,000 in April 2009.

The rise has concerned doctors, child welfare groups and academics, who say living with beneficiaries increases the risk of leaving school early and health effects including hospital admissions and deaths.

They have set up an annual checklist to monitor the situation. The Social Health Monitor, to be launched at the Paediatric Society annual conference in Hamilton today, will track the effects of the economic downturn on child health and poverty.

It shows the number of children reliant on a benefit recipient has fallen since 2000 but is likely to rise in the near future and says the benefit set-up will be unable to protect many children from severe or significant hardship – including more hospital admissions and deaths.

It also points to long-term effects such as leaving school without qualifications.
Click through for the rest.

Looks like the recession may be over at the top, but it's a long way from finished for everyone else :-(

6 comments:

Lindsay said...

Except most of these kids are not on benefits because of the recession. In Nov 2005, when unemployment hit the lowest rate since 1986 - 3.4% - and the economy was apparently quite strong, even more children were on a benefit. The problem is the DPB and whatever causes so many NZ parents to rely on it.

Cactus Kate said...

The lady in the Stuff story with the cute baby, WHERE'S the lousy father? And why isn't he paying to help her?

The DPB contracts out his responsibility doesn't it? And that of her wider family to look after the child.

Her poverty is temporary as soon as that baby is old enough she can go back to work, she had a job before the baby.

The issue is DPB mothers who either stay on the DPB or had never worked before hand.

AnneE said...

Oh right, so if there was no DPB there would be no problem? Plenty of jobs out there in brothels, eh. It seems to be a crime now to want to look after your own child when he or she is really young - certainly, if you're on your own, you and your child will be punished with poverty. And as soon as you earn more than $80 a week, you will be more savagely taxed than anyone else in the country (except other beneficiaries).

Lindsay said...

"Oh right, so if there was no DPB there would be no problem?"

We cannot know what temporary assistance rather than indefinite entitlement would produce. It is no good going back to the 1950s and 60s and looking at what when on then because it was a vastly different world. No pill, no legal abortion, much lower female employment, much lower educational achievement and skills attainment. In fact the DPB is keeping many females back with the status they had in the 50s and 60s - just without an official partner.

"It seems to be a crime now to want to look after your own child when he or she is really young - certainly, if you're on your own, you and your child will be punished with poverty."

Of course it isn't a crime to want to look after your child. But what is wrong with planning for that instead of expecting someone else to make it financially possible?

In any case 67 percent of the children on benefits are 5 or older.

"And as soon as you earn more than $80 a week, you will be more savagely taxed than anyone else in the country (except other beneficiaries)."

That's 'effective' taxation you are talking about. The government clawing back what it had been providing as the beneficiary is able to provide it herself through work. Which leads to the complaint of, why should I work when I am no better off?

Because, where possible, people have a moral obligation to support themselves. If most people didn't live by that axiom the rest would be stuffed. The ratio can only stretch so far.

Julie said...

Lindsay, there are estimates that around 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. What are your practical suggestions for how we deal with that, given that you want women to only have children when they are able to plan for them.

Julie said...

Sorry I meant *pay not *plan in my last line there.

And I'm referring to the estimates that were flying around during the debate around putting folic acid into bread.