Family First Midweek Update 30 Aug 2011

Hey! – even Justin Bieber likes us
“…always remember to keep family first.”
                  Teen Choice Awards 7 August 2011

1.Festering Sore of Alcohol Harm To Be ‘Tickled’
Family First Media Release 26 August 2011
Family First NZ says that the government’s proposals to reform alcohol laws will have little effect on our binge drinking culture and as a result the problems of domestic violence, child abuse, underage drinking, public drunkenness, repeat drunk driving offences and binge drinking will continue. “The binge drinking culture has been spiralling out of control as we have liberalised laws and controls around alcohol abuse. In 1989 alcohol law changes eased restrictions for off-licence selling including supermarket and grocery stores selling, and availability increased as trading hours of on-licence venues were extended. And then in 1999 we foolishly lowered the drinking age, allowed the sale of beer in supermarkets and further increased trading hours,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “In response, politicians have tackled the festering sore of alcohol harm with a tickle, and in the process ignored the overwhelming voice of NZ’ers and groups representing families and communities who made key recommendations to the Law Commission. Ironically, just two months ago, a report from the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser Sir Peter Gluckman said raising the drinking age to 21 and increasing alcohol prices would be two of the most effective ways to address youth drinking problems. Both these requests have been ignored,” says Mr McCoskrie. READ MORE
Critics slam alcohol changes
ONE News 26 August 2011 Critics say the sale and marketing of alcohol still needs to be addressed despite changes made to the Government’s controversial Alcohol Reform Bill. …One such critic, Family First, says the reforms will have little effect on binge-drinking.READ MORE

2.Focus the Resources on Dysfunctional Families

Family First Media Release 25 August 2011
Family First NZ is welcoming calls by the Rotorua Coroner to monitor families for child abuse to avoid repeat cases like the Nia Glassie case, but says that the focus should be on dysfunctional families where there are obvious risk factors and a history of dysfunction. “It is an absolute waste of resources and time to monitor families where there are no concerns about the physical or emotional needs of families and their children,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “90% of NZ families don’t need monitoring – they simply need encouragement and support to continue doing the great job they’re already doing. To threaten to refer the overwhelming majority of well-functioning parents and families – who will quite rightly resist this intrusion – to social welfare agencies to be closely monitored, as was also previously floated by a past Children’s Commissioner, is flawed and pointless. How many times in abuse cases have we heard ‘the family was known to CYF’? READ MORE
Mixed reaction to call for compulsory child monitoring
ONE News August 25, 2011 A coroner’s radical recommendations in the wake of one New Zealand’s most disturbing child abuse cases have been met with a mixed response….Family First’s Bob McCoskrie said it would be a waste of resources to monitor all families. He said it should be focused on what he calls “dysfunctional families”. “Ninety percent of NZ families don’t need monitoring – they simply need encouragement and support to continue doing the great job they’re already doing,” he said. READ MORE
Who needs watching after Nia’s death?
Rotorua Daily Post August 27, 2011
Any closer monitoring of children in New Zealand should be aimed at families identified as being at risk. …. Family First national director Bob McCoskrie also says the focus should be on dysfunctional families where there are obvious risk factors and a history of dysfunction. “It is an absolute waste of resources and time to monitor families where there are no concerns about the physical or emotional needs of families and their children.” About 90 per cent of New Zealand families wouldn’t need monitoring. READ MORE

3.Children in poorer areas more prone to abuse
NZ Herald Aug 29, 2011
Children in poorer neighbourhoods are being admitted to hospital as victims of assault, neglect or maltreatment at a rate more than five times that of children in wealthier neighbourhoods, a report has found. The Children’s Social Health Monitor’s 2011 findings show hospital admissions arising from “assault, neglect or maltreatment” were 5.6 times higher for those in the most deprived areas, Otago University child and youth epidemiology service director Dr Elizabeth Craig said. Mortality from sudden unexpected death in infancy was 7.4 times higher for those living in the most deprived areas, the report found. Infant mortality rates were also higher for Maori and Pacific Island infants, and those with mothers younger than 30. The report found 20.4 per cent or 234,572 children were reliant on a benefit in April. In 2008, there were 201,083 children relying on a benefit. READ MORE
Family First Comment: Questions they didn’t ask – and won’t…
1. what role has
family structure and decreasing marriage rates played
2. what role is the
increasing rates of cohabitation having?
3. what is the relationship between
family structure and rates of abuse?
4. what does the research show about family structure and poverty?
etc etc. A New Zealand study found that, “…poor children reliant on government transfers, when compared with poor children reliant on market incomes, have lower living standards and a number of compounding shortfalls that can be expected to place them at greater risk of negative outcomes.” In 1950, nearly a third of the U.S. population was poor (twice the current rate). In the 1920s, roughly half of the population was poor by today’s standard. If the theory that poverty causes social problems were true, we should have had far more social problems in those earlier periods then we do today. The poorest ethnic group in NZ is Asians, yet their children are not beset with the problems commonly attributed to low incomes. There is no evidence that enlarging benefits and expanding enrollments will improve children’s lives. This is why publications from the Child Poverty Action Group should be ignored – they’ll tell you what you already know, but they’re way too ideologically flawed to confront the real problems and their causes. 

4.Study links parenting style to drinking
Independent (UK) 28 August 2011
Parenting style is one of the strongest influences on how much alcohol a child will drink as a teenager and young adult, new research has revealed. Independent think tank Demos found that bad parenting at 16 made children more than eight times more likely to become binge drinkers at that age and twice as likely to drink excessively when they were 34. While bad parenting at 10 doubled the chances of children bingeing on alcohol in their mid-30s. Researchers analysed data from more than 15,000 children born in Britain over the last 40 years as part of the study. They found the “tough love” style of parenting, which combined warmth and discipline, was the most effective in ensuring against children developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Less effective styles were “authoritarian” parents, who set high standards and employ strict discipline, “laissez faire” parents, who are emotionally engaged but do not set rule or boundaries, and those who are “disengaged” with their children. READ MORE

5.Report: Cohabitation a threat to child welfare
The Washington Times August 17, 2011
Cohabiting is an emerging threat to the health of children and society, two new research reports say. In the latter half of the 20th century, “divorce posed the biggest threat to marriage in the United States,” sociology professor W. Bradford Wilcox and 17 other scholars said in a report released this week by the Institute for American Values’ Center for Marriage and Families and the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. That is no longer the case, they said. “Today, the rise of cohabiting households with children is the largest unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s family lives,” the scholars said in “Why Marriage Matters, Third Edition: Thirty Conclusions From the Social Sciences.” Cohabiting relationships are prone to instability, with “multiple transitions” and breakups. Children are less likely to thrive in such homes and may even be exposed to abuse from unrelated persons in their homes, the report says. READ MORE

6.UK Ministers back anti-abortion lobby reforms 28 August 2011
The government has caved in to calls from anti-abortionists to overhaul existing protocols and strip charities and medics of their exclusive responsibility for counselling women seeking to terminate a pregnancy. The Department of Health confirmed that it would change the rules to ensure that women are also offered counselling “independently” of existing abortion services. Its announcement was made in advance of an attempt next week led by the Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries to amend the health and social care bill to force such a requirement. Dorries says that the charity-run abortion services – including the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Marie Stopes – have a financial conflict of interest in advising women seeking terminations. She says that by offering independent counselling, 60,000 of the 200,000 abortions each year could be prevented. READ MORE

7.Anti-Smacking Law Doco Attracts Huge Audience
Family First Media Release 25 August 2011
Family First NZ says that approximately 100,000 NZ’ers have viewed the documentaryMy Mummy’s A Criminal” on the anti-smacking law which profiles good families who have been victims of the law. “We’ve had approximately 35,000 hits on the website which hosts the DVD and contains legal advice for parents, almost 10,000 copies of the DVD have been distributed to the public, and views on YouTube have just passed the 5,000 ‘views’ mark,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Considering that this is a 30-minute documentary being hosted on YouTube, this is a very high number of views. We estimate that up to 100,000 people have viewed the video because of families watching it, reports received of the DVD being shown in groups and community settings, and DVD’s being passed on. Every politician has been sent a copy of the documentary which contains clear evidence that the anti-smacking law is criminalising good families. Interestingly, not one politician has responded to us regarding the facts presented in the documentary. Either they have refused to watch it, are yet to watch it, or they have watched it but don’t care about the experiences of families as a result of the law,” says Mr McCoskrie. READ MORE
HAVE YOU WATCHED IT YET? The documentary that has shocked ten’s of thousands of NZ’ers