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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand First – Press Release/Statement

Headline: 3500 Teen Parents Losing Chance To Study

Three and a half thousand teenagers are missing out on schooling in teen parent units, says New Zealand First.

“The government is not funding enough places, forcing communities to make up some of the shortfall,” says New Zealand First Deputy Leader and Spokesperson for Education Tracey Martin.

“But communities face impossible processes to get the units off the ground.

“We applaud Northland College and its community for its perseverance and hard work in setting up a new teen parenting unit in Kaikohe,” says Mrs Martin.

The Association of Teen Parent Educators NZ says there are only 500 student places, yet there are 4000 teen parents.

New Zealand First Spokesperson for Youth Affairs Darroch Ball says there is also a need for support for teenaged fathers.

“Both parents cannot attend the units or take part in budget or parenting classes because of restrictions on enrolments.

“An unintended consequence of the recent benefit changes is that young parents who choose to stay together have their financial support stripped down.

“This could ultimately undermine the long-term stability of these young families and can negatively influence the choices they make.  More focus is needed on support, guidance and opportunities for young fathers,” says Mr Ball.

“Supporting all young parents as they adjust to one of the most important roles they will hold in their lifetime is just common sense,” says Mr Ball.