The 2002 Domestic Purposes and Widow’s Benefit reform reshaped the support available to help people receiving these benefits move towards employment and changed the employment-related obligations they faced. This report brings together findings from an evaluation of the reform which was carried out over the period 2003–2005. A key focus of the evaluation was monitoring the implementation of the changes and providing “real time” feedback on service delivery issues so that they could be addressed as they emerged.
Since the reform was introduced in 2003, the Working for Families package has provided additional financial assistance and help with accessing childcare to families with children, and Working New Zealand: Work-Focused Support has been introduced with the aim of increasing opportunities for people to participate in the labour market. From 1 July 2007, the introduction of 20 Hours Free Early Childhood Education funded through the Ministry of Education has improved the affordability of childcare for families with 3 and 4-year-olds.
With Working for Families and the changes introduced with the 2002 reform, the number of people receiving DPB has fallen substantially. The Household Labour Force Survey shows that the proportion of sole parents who are working full-time has increased rapidly and in the year to June 2007 was at its highest level in the history of the survey.
The purpose of this report is to bring together findings from an evaluation of the reform carried out over the period 2003-2005. It also profiles sole parents receiving the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) and reviews the policy reforms affecting this group over the decade leading up to the reform.