August 30, 2014

This legislation targets good parents – not the bad ones

POST TO:
Secretariat
Government Administration Committee
Parliament Buildings
WELLINGTON 6011

SUBMISSION
Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

Name of Individual / Family / Organisation:

Email Address:

I/We wish to appear before the Committee to speak to my/our Submission       NO
If you circled YES, please provide daytime contact number: ____________________________

SUBMISSION:

I OPPOSE Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill

Reasons:

I see the family as a foundation of society and am passionate about children being with their parents … particularly with their mothers.  I am a mother of 6, a registered Early Childhood Teacher and have been working with children in a variety of capacities for 29 years.   I have been working in an ECE centre for the past 6 years (part-time) while also homeschooling my children.  Another aspect to my life is that I have a husband on the invalids benefit and so also can address the aspect of being a beneficiary. 

 I agree in principle with the points addressed in the ‘social obligations’ e.g.… health checks, access to doctors, and access if chosen, to ECE services and have done all these with my children while being on the benefit, but I strongly object to parents choice being removed.   I understand that the legislation proposed is aimed to catch the vulnerable children but I do not agree that a blanket legislative approach is the correct way to do it.  There are existing agencies that need more funding… so why not expand Plunket and agencies like Barnados and other home based carers that can go into the home and support families.   Midwives are often in the homes in preparation for the baby’s birth and may welcome funding to increase the support avenues that they have access to.   There are already pathways in place to report people to CYFS if their children are at risk.  This legislation targets good parents – not the bad ones.  Responsible families already have their children’s welfare uppermost in their minds.

 

In my work at the kindergarten, I see a wide range of children at different stages of development and some of these children are ready and willing to leave their mothers/parents but quite a few are not emotionally ready at 3 years old to be separated from them.  15 hours each week is a huge amount of time in a wee child’s life and I am grieved that this large amount of time has become the ‘magic’ bullet in separating parent from child.  In the centre I work in, that would mean the child would be there every day for a morning or afternoon session – 5 days a week/ 3 hours each day.  That is a huge chunk in a child’s life and I think that this is a badly thought out piece of legislation.  Separation anxiety is a well-known documented problem that children suffer and I believe that we as a society will incur many future cases where mental health problems could be traced back to such an early age.  This doesn’t even consider the mother’s mental and emotional wellbeing, the cost of getting the child to the centre or the optional charges required for the parent to pay because the 20 hours funding from the government is not enough to fund the quality education that children have a right to.

Overall, I strongly oppose the coercion and legislating of beneficiaries in the suggested social obligations.  It does make me feel like a second –class citizen, being targeted as if I am not responsible enough to care for my children and have to have a law to make me a ‘good’ parent.   We have freedom of choice in this wonderful country and please don’t let it be robbed from us.