What do you think of this idea?
In Australia we have around 11,000 teenage parents who are receiving a parenting (welfare) payment from the government to support themselves and their child. Most of these (6,800) are single parents (and mostly young girls). From next year, all teenage parents receiving a parenting payment will, once their child turns one, return to school or further education or have their payment suspended. The government will assist with childcare payments. This will be compulsory.
They will no longer be able to remain at home full time caring for their son or daughter unless they undertake homeschooling (not that this has been mentioned as an option). They are currently not required to look for work until their youngest child turns six.
Whilst I agree that teenage mums (or dads) should complete their education - many are going to have to place their child into care (eg a childcare centre) while they are attending school. There are very few schools in Australia that provide a childcare service to teenage parents so many parents will need to place their child away from the school and will not be able to have regular contact with their 12 month old during the day. This may cause problems for those with limited transport options. Whilst most other mothers have some choice about staying at home or working/studying, this will be completely removed from this very vulnerable group. A group that probably needs the most assistance's (and care) when it comes to being a mother.
The Labor Government refers to this as "tough love". I am sure if the Government thought harder about this they could have come up with a mother/father friendly option.
What is your views?