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Budget 2003: Help for unemployed separated parents.



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Hon. Larry Anthony, MP Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

13 May 2003

HELP FOR UNEMPLOYED SEPARATED PARENTS

Unemployed parents who have a child support responsibility will be offered access to community-based parenting and relationship support services under an $11.9 million Federal Government 2003-04 Budget initiative.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Larry Anthony announced that up to 31,500 newly separated parents were expected to take up the offer over the next four years.

This initiative aims to support and enhance the relationship and other skills of unemployed parents who have recently separated.

This is a group that has particular needs. Not only do they face the many challenges associated with separation, they have the added challenge of finding employment.

Good parenting skills are essential to give children the best possible start in life. However, during separation and divorce, the heat of the emotion can make parents lose sight of the most important thing - the welfare of their children.

Anger and frustration too often takes over and parents forget that there are bigger issues to consider. But with help, most parents are able to move through separation without negative consequences for their children.

Research shows - and Child Support Agency's experience proves - that parents are more inclined to voluntarily pay child support if they have a good relationship with the other parent and their children.

Parents who participate in these programs are also likely to spend less time on unemployment benefits, which in turn will result in increased child support for their children.

The initiative is expected to result in an increase of $8.8 million in child support and reduce outlays on Newstart Allowance by $9.5 million. It is also expected to save more than $2.7 million on Family Tax Benefit.

Media Contact: Claire Kimball 02 6277 7240 0413 486 926 Email: claire.kimball@facs.gov.au Web site: www.facs.gov.au