26 Mar 2011

Not enough support seen for new parents

7:16 pm on 26 March 2011

The Parenting New Zealand Education Trust says New Zealand is falling well short when it comes to providing support for new parents.

Sean Donnelly, 23, was sentenced in the High Court in Palmerston North on Friday to seven years in prison for the manslaughter of his former partner's three-year-old daughter.

The judge said such incidents are all too common when children are left in the care of young men who are unsuited to the task.

The trust says new parents receive minimal support before and after a baby is born and more should be done.

it says young parents in particular need support - as leaving them to struggle alone is a recipe for disaster.

Director Mike Styles says there needs to be more assistance for groups such as Plunket and Parent Centres.

He suggests using the skills of baby boomers who are hitting retirement age for mentoring and guidance.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust has described the prison term given to Donnelly as pathetic.

Justice Mackenzie declined to impose a minimum non-parole period on Donnelly's jail sentence.

Because of that, the trust's spokesperson, Garth McVicar says it's possible that he could again be walking the streets in 18 months.

Mr McVicar says the sentence is an insult which the Crown must appeal against.