Source: Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)
The Child Poverty Action Group is today commending the Government’s decision to remove the Subsequent Child Policy, calling it a win for children.
Up until now, parents or caregivers who had a child while they were already receiving a benefit were required to seek or begin work once their youngest child turned one year old instead of three years old, or risk losing a substantial amount of their benefit income.
“Parenting is the one of the most important jobs a person can do. This change means parents are better able to make the best choices for their children during their critical early years,” CPAG researcher Caitlin Neuwelt-Kearns says. “We congratulate the Government for this small but necessary step in supporting children.”
Ministry of Social Development advice to decision makers stated the Ministry had “found no evidence to suggest that the policy has reduced time on benefit or led to better social or financial outcomes for families” but that it “disproportionately impacted Māori and women, increased inequity and complexity in the welfare system, and reduced flexibility for parents to spend time with their subsequent children.”
“Children were being severely disadvantaged by this punitive law that demonstrated no benefit to family wellbeing or children’s outcomes. We owe it to every child to ensure that their parents are supported to care for them the best way possible,” says Neuwelt-Kearns.
While these proposed changes are a positive step, CPAG is calling on the Government to continue to implement the remaining recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, including addressing the further sanctions and obligations flagged for removal, to unlock families from the burden of poverty, and support all families to thrive.