When the DPB was first proposed it had a very simple purpose, to allow mothers to leave abusive relationships, to allow them to protect their children from beatings, alcoholism and psychological abuse. It was intended to ensure that those children would have a real chance at a healthy and happy life. It did not, and could not, provide true equality to children raised in single parent households, but it could try.
Since then the DPB has changed, it is not exclusively for the children of solo mums, or exclusively for the children of an abusive parent. It remains true, however, to its original goal: ensuring that children in single parent households have a real chance, that their disadvantage is minimised.
Children in households dependent on the DPB have three key sources of disadvantage: financial (the DPB is well below the average income of a household with children), parenting (two loving parents can provide more than one in many ways), and acceptance (many people will negatively judge a child of a home “on welfare”). The parents in these homes, by and large, try their level best to give their children the opportunities that most other kids have.
One of the options for children in two parent homes is a stay-at-home parent: a parent who focusses their energy on creating a supportive, stimulating, warm and loving home. Many families scrimp and save to achieve this, and many make other choices with both parents working to gain other advantages for their children. But two parent homes have that choice, their children of two parent homes have that option.
With a change in the DPB forcing the solo parent to work that option has been taken away from the children. One of the precious pieces of equality will be taken from some of our most vulnerable children.
The DPB, as it was first created and as it continues today, is decidedly New Testament where a child should not be punished for the sin of the parents. No child should be disadvantaged because one of their parents was violent, or left the other. No child should be disadvantaged by the breakdown of their parents’ relationship.
The changes proposed by National are decidedly Old Testament; the sins of the father will be visited upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.