Written by Cayla Marchant
Produced for online by Elisabeth Moss
A Gold Coast university Professor says there should be a limit on the number of children those from disadvantaged families have.
Bond University’s Dean of Medicine Professor Peter Jones thinks the limit could combat the rising number of young people in out-of-home care.
There are currently 43,000 Australian children in foster care.
In an article in the Brisbane Times, Professor Jones says the social welfare system often does more harm than good.
He says parents who are unable to care for their own children should not be given incentives to have any more.
CREATE Foundation CEO Jacqui Reed says the suggestion is concerning.
“To be saying that disadvantaged people should be discouraged from having more children because of the escalating costs of welfare – it’s blaming the victim at best,” she says.
Ms Reed says other factors such as drugs, alcohol and domestic violence affect whether parents can properly care for their children.
“We need to get to the cause, to the root of these issues and to be able to assist and protect and support families rather than making a punitive measure for those on welfare,” she says.
The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies CEO, Andrew McCallum, agrees.
“If you want to actually change behaviours you have to change the environment in which disadvantaged people have to operate,” he says.
The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties President, Micahael Cope, says the solution is to help parents.
“It’s been clear for years and years and years that really what needs to be done… to reduce the number of children in these situations is early intervention programs, to enable parents to better parent,” he says.
He says bad parents can be found in wealthy households too.
“We don’t hear about them because they have access to legal representation.
“They have the financial capacity to hide their mistakes and resist intervention by the State,” he says.
He says the Professor’s suggestion is an example of State intervention designed to micromanage the lives of those who are disadvantaged.