Intelligent Welfare, Prudent Interventions
And now for some good news. One of the outstanding successes of the present NZ Government is the way it has been able to reduce welfare rolls. Here is the latest success:
The number of teen mothers on welfare has more than halved since 2009, the Government says. There were 1836 teenage mums on "main" benefits at the end of last year, down from 4263 in 2009 - a fall of 57 per cent.There have been some remarkable effects demonstrated in countries where a concerted effort has been made to reduce people on welfare rolls.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said teen parents had some of the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare. On average, they spent more than 17 years on welfare. "If we can give young mums opportunities to be independent and successful then that will mean better lives for their children," she said. "We know that kids who grow up in benefit-dependent homes are more likely to go on to a benefit, are more likely to be notified to CYF and are less likely to achieve NCEA Level 2."
Tolley credited the reduction to the Government's Youth Service, which supports young solo parents in job training, education, budgeting and parenting. An additional $41 million was invested in the service last year to extend it to 19-year-olds. [NZ Herald]
One thing that has the potential for success is concerted, co-ordinated, targeted programmes to get young state dependants off welfare and into work. Note the focus of the NZ Government's Youth Service: working with young solo parents in "job training, education, budgeting, and parenting".
There was a day not so long ago when were such a focused programme to be conceived it would have been swamped with fetid gaseous objections such as, "Discrimination" or "Unjust" or the more damning "Sexist". Thank goodness those days have passed--at least for the moment. (We expect that the social justice warriors will make a comeback in due course. Let's hope they are metaphorically knee capped and ham strung when that day comes around.)
The results of this programme are startling and extremely positive. Just think of one significant downstream consequence--most of these solo mothers, once in work and likely better off financially, will be far less likely to resort to the classic way so many solo mothers increased their income. The pattern was to conceive and bear more children (usually with successive partners) as a way to increase their dependent children and, therefore, welfare incomes. We have reason now to hope that this will be much less the case.
The long term effects of such progress will be positive, to say the least.