…having worked in this field for a number of years, I am increasingly sceptical about our willingness to openly address very contentious issues that are highly relevant to the welfare of children.
Some big silences remain in the debate about child protection. Contemporary society would prefer not to talk about key problems, such as the fact that single-mother households are over-represented in cases of child abuse and neglect.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘a relatively high proportion of substantiations [of reported child abuse and neglect] involved children living in lone mother families’. The Australian Institute of Family Studies estimates that child abuse in such households is ‘about two and half times higher than would be expected given the number of children living in such families.’
This problem was created by the Whitlam government when it introduced the single mothers pension in 1973. This made it possible for women who did not work and did not have bread-winning husbands to raise children at taxpayers’ expense. What has ensued is the rise of a dysfunctional underclass of welfare-dependent single mothers with a complex range of personal and social problems, including substance abuse, domestic violence, and an inability to properly parent children.
A Senate committee recently recommended that the federal government issue an apology for the pre-1970s policy of forcing unwed mothers to give up their babies for adoption. We also need to admit that efforts to right perceived wrongs, starting with the creation of the single mothers pension, have precipitated a social disaster.
But we are reluctant to admit this because telling the truth about ‘diverse’ family structures is not politically correct. We are culturally deaf, as it were, to the fact that all ‘families’ are patently not equal when it comes to securing the welfare of children.
This is from a piece by Jeremy Sammut of the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, Australia. It is equally true in Britain and other countries.
- Britain has the highest proportion of single mothers in the European Union and, surprise, surpise, one of the highest rates of benefits for single mothers
- Children of lone parents are disadvantaged – further evidence
- Don’t leave it to Gini
- “Pleasant family life” in the East End in Victorian times
- Working mothers, lone parents and divorce.