[Sitting date: 10 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:2166. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
KATRINA SHANKS (National) to the
Minister for Social Development: How will the Budget 2012 welfare reforms support teen parents to provide better outcomes for themselves and their children?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development)
: Budget 2012 will ensure that all teen parents—those on benefits and, significantly, those who are not—will have childcare costs paid while they are studying. We know that the cost of childcare is a barrier for this group in particular. That is why we have allocated $80 million over 4 years to provide this support.
Katrina Shanks: How does this work build on the Government’s record of supporting teen parents?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: This Government has had the single biggest focus of any Government on supporting teen parents. In Budget 2010 we saw the single biggest spend on services for teen parents, of nearly $15 million. Our supported housing initiative—24/7 supervised care—over the last year has seen support for 71 teen parents and those who are most vulnerable. Nineteen teenage parent intensive case workers have in the last year been actively working with over 200 teen parents. And we have also increased the number of teen parent units; there are six more under this Government.
Katrina Shanks: Can the Minister provide an update on the youth services tender process?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Yes, I can. From those very groups that the Opposition thinks are not up to it we have had a response from 185 providers, corresponding to 255 applications from around the country. They have put their hand up to actually work with and support these young people. What we are really getting cognisant of, though, is making sure that we have some providers that will look after just a few, so that we are getting into smaller areas as well as those bigger cities. So it is not just going to be all big providers; we will also see a number of smaller ones that can provide for a small number of teens, as well.