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Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says that the number of teen mums requiring a benefit has fallen significantly since 2009, alongside increased government support to help them and their families lead independent and successful lives.

There were 57 per cent fewer young mums on main benefits at the end of 2016 compared to 2009, down from 4,263 to 1,836.

Teen parents have some of the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare, going on to spend more than 17 years on benefits.

“We want to see young families thrive, rather than relying on benefits,” says Mrs Tolley.

“If we can give young mums opportunities to be independent and successful then that will mean better lives for their children. We know that kids who grow up in benefit-dependent homes are more likely themselves to go on to a benefit, are more likely to be notified to CYF and are less likely to achieve NCEA Level 2.

“The Youth Service has been supporting young sole parents into training and education and helping them prepare for employment, while also offering budgeting and parenting skills.

“Budget 2016 invested an additional $41 million into this service to extend it to 19 year old parents.

“We are getting in early and working for longer with the young people who need this intensive support. They deserve opportunities to learn important skills to help prepare them for employment. It benefits them and their families and also reduces the future cost for taxpayers.”

Young mothers aged 16-19 receiving a main benefit as at end of December:

  Client age Total 16 17 18-19 2009 133 522 3,608 4,263 2010 132 431 3,372 3,935 2011 111 386 3,050 3,547 2012 85 351 2,622 3,058 2013 84 300 2,195 2,579 2014 73 268 1,869 2,210 2015 82 248 1,681 2,011 2016 69 247 1,520 1,836

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