Thursday, 26 June 2008

Government must do more to support families

Last year there were 60,000 cases across Australia where a child was at risk of abuse or neglect.

By Online parliamentary correspondent Publik

The Federal Families Minister Jenny Macklin must do more to support families instead of neglecting them because of the acute child abuse levels that are alarmingly high.

Today a Canberra woman has been accused of neglecting her four children and in the past week other parents in Queensland and Adelaide have been accused of allegedly neglecting their children.

Families Minister says last year there were 60,000 cases across Australia where a child was at risk of abuse or neglect.

So why doesn't she increase support for them instead of trying to criminalize them? It is not a criminal act to be poor.

Child abuse through lack of support is not a crime if governments are not prepared to support struggling families.

Ms Macklin says while parents have primary responsibility for the care of their children, all governments must make sure child abuse cases do not go unattended.

But one of the things that is our responsibility is to step in where governments show lack of support for struggling families and child support.

Jenny Macklin says the Government's child protection framework will aim to increase the sharing of information between jurisdictions and better integration of services.

But what about better social support for families? How could she miss the point?

Any aspect of a new national child protection framework should include more social support not a big stick to lock up struggling parents.

The Government is also giving state and territory child welfare authorities the power to advise Centrelink to withhold welfare payments. What a joke.

The Government needs to do much more to support familles so parents can afford to feed their children and to prevent children from neglect.

To be confronted with severe government neglect of families and their children resulting in the horror of malnutrition or starvation, is pretty confronting.

It seems incomprehensible that these things can happen in suburban cities in Australia today.

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