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NY Parents Paid To Parent Their Own Kids — Great Service?

Tough, dangerous, and impoverished neighborhoods are hit with a double-whammy when it comes to raising kids: parents who are away from home a lot trying to make ends meet, and as a result, kids that are left to their own devices learning tough and dangerous behaviors to match. New York City has a program aimed at ending that cycle.

It's called Opportunity NYC and it pays cash to 2,500 families from the city's poorest neighborhoods, to do the things that are expected of parents: taking their kids to the doctor, or going to parent-teacher meetings. In areas where liquor stores out number banks and crime is high, the experimental plan is paid for by private funds with support from the mayor's office, aims to create well-parented kids to become future citizens of the world.

One recipient of benefits from the plan is a 37-year-old mom with 12 children. She lives in a large housing tower where she enters through the back door because she is too scared to go in the front. In the past four years, she's seen 10 shootings by her house. The plan's benefits appealed to her greatly. In the past two months, she has received almost $1000 for accomplishments like making sure her children do not miss school, and have dental check-ups.

Is this exactly the kind of service that will attack problems like crime at the root by giving kids the proper parental support to grow up to resist the cycle, or is it ridiculous to pay parents to parent their kids?


Join The Conversation
brookrene brookrene 9 years
Does this mean some of my tax money might actually go to something worthwhile and not welfare? Gotta say...12 kids?! Seriously? These types of people who cant figure out how to work birth control seriously make me mad.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
"I don't think any of us can really know the difficulty of being a parent living in poverty unless you have actually been there." I don't necessarily need to experience something to have a well-reasoned opinion on it. It seems that not having experienced something enables one to have more dispassionate and logical ideas. We don't only let the victims of crimes make the laws. I didn't need to have 12 kids to realize that it's a bad idea.
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 9 years
'I don't think any of us can really know the difficulty of being a parent living in poverty unless you have actually been there.' I feel you on this one Gitsie...because Ive been there. My mother stuggled to raise me and my brothers. This is also done in parts of Europe. In some places offers a paid maternity leave of 3 years.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
That is why people have been SCREAMING for welfare reform for years. Teacha man to fish...It certainly isn't a new concept. But a certain group doesn't want to change it at all. They are quite happy with the way things are.
skylineking722 skylineking722 9 years
Does the money get monitored. Who's to say that the money doesn't get spent on something like drugs or a new big screen T.V.?
stiletta stiletta 9 years
I'm glad it's privately funded because paying people to have children is probably the dumbest way to spend money.
Bksuga Bksuga 9 years
this is intereting to me.. I think its good that the money goes to where it is needed but how do you know the money even goes to the kids well being. if i was a scholarship or maybe a vocher for a bill or something than i think it would be eaiser for me to understand.
gitsie123 gitsie123 9 years
Beatbox, I totally agree with you. There are many factors on why people have so many children and environment is one of them. Single mothers are the ones who are going to be most effected by this initiative and it can be difficult if you are the only responsible parent looking out for multiple children. Most of this families have jobs that don't allow days off so they neglect doctors appointments to pay for food. I don't think any of us can really know the difficulty of being a parent living in poverty unless you have actually been there.
BeatBoxANNI BeatBoxANNI 9 years
It's easy to say that when you're poor you shouldn't have children or that they should have used birth control, but when you're raised in an environment where this is considered the NORM for decades, the cycle won't end. Yes, you can say teach them and educate them (which is something that should be done), but some people don't want to take the time to do so because they don't care for At-Risk schools and neighborhood environments. It's a pity. I think education is key in life and this private provider is doing good thing to help those society wants to forget about and condemn.
gitsie123 gitsie123 9 years
Like birth control?
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I agree, I'd rather see funding and effort go into preventing people from having kids they can't take care of.
Roarman Roarman 9 years
I don't get it. We pay these parents for properly taking care of their children? If they weren't getting paid would they not do these things they should be doing in the first place? Maybe the money would be better spent on parenting classes, birth control and programs to keep these kids busy when their parents are at work.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
From personal experience I will tell you why this is a good program. My mom had 3 children within 3 years, not because she wanted to, but because her birth control didn't work. Then her husband cheated on her and they got divorced. Then, his child support checks bounced. For every day she went to work to provide, she gave half that money to a babysitter. She ran all her errands (shopping or laundry) at lunch so she could spend as much time at home as possible. If she did not have cash in hand the doctor would not treat her children. If she missed work for any reason, like the one time she had a kidney infection and the doctor gave her a shot that made her sleep for 36 hours (yes the babysitter stayed the whole time and called in for her), her boss wanted to fire her. These are not all negligent parents. These are people in bad situations doing the best they can. They want to take care of their children more than anything, but they have severely limited options. While I was growing up, my mom had to work 10-12 hour days, 6 days a week, and she spent her 1 day off going to the grocery store and the doctor (and parent-teacher conferences). Eventually we got insurance, and a house, but we were always latchkey kids. I suspect many of these people are like my mom and might someday work their way out of poverty, but I would praise any effort to help struggling parents get their kids to the doctor or whatever else they need.
emmebeth emmebeth 9 years
How about paying for birth control and sex-ed? If you can't support a family- DON'T HAVE ONE!
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
chicagojlo, well if you go to the site that Citzen gave - the lady says her kids know nothing of the money. I don't know if that is true but some parents do not talk finances with their kids. chicagojlo, I wish more people would adopt but the truth is there are a lot of children in the system and are there until 18. Some people do not want a child over a certain age, it could be anything, however, people are not adopting them. There are some people that I know of that are foster parents for the check ---it was their incentive to become foster parents. In every situation the child loses - so why not try to educate and try to break the cycle.
chicagojlo chicagojlo 9 years
Bellaressa you are right, but I don't see how training kids to think that being a parent is a job you should only do for financial reward is going to break the cycle either. So far this woman with 12 kids has had to bear no consequence for her actions - her kids are paying the price, while she cashes in. I'd rather see an end to IVF and the adoption of children from overseas who have living parents. If people who can't have kids of their own are really so desperate to be parents why don't they adopt or foster? The money they are prepared to sink into having the baby of their choice could make so much difference to the lives of these kids (and yes I'm a parent, as well as having a adoped sister).
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
chicagojlo, I understand where you are coming from. Parents should be parents no matter what. However, you take these children and put them in foster care - will they be better off? Getting caught up in the system or living with a less than steller foster family is what some kids get and its worse than the situation they were in. There are good people out there who are great foster parents. I am just trying to see how we focus on the problems and get a solution - over populating jails have not stopped crime and neither will over populating children within the system.
chicagojlo chicagojlo 9 years
Where I come from you go to prison for neglect if you don't take your kids to the doctor when they are sick. You can also go to prison if your kids don't attend school as much as they are supposed to. Removing kids from homes where they are not receiving basic care should be the number one priority. The threat of losing your kids should be more than enough incentive for these women to stop having more. People say these kids are better off with their parents because they love them. What kind of love is that?
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
raciccarone. that's a great idea. i will look into it, post haste.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
YY, you should get a job with local government or something so you can implement you ideas locally.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
This would be great if there was another phase to this or even phases to ensure long term success for parents and families involved. Some people are surprised but when there is time taking to show someone to do something, help them, or even point them in the right direction so they can be independent --I believe a lot of people will take it and do very well with it. I just think it needs to go beyond the money and show people that they have self worth and that they are not only helping themselves, their children, but their community. I love yy's idea - its helping people to literally help themselves.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Well said, Hypno! Education is totally the key!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
In a day and age where poverty stricken neighborhoods have basically become criminal farms I can understand N.Y.C. act of desperation. They are trying to fill a void left by society in not being attentive to the importance of education, after school programs and above all the general well being of our children. An inadequate appreciation of how the lack of said attention has deep and lasting impact on the general well being of society itself is our true aliment. The ultimate remedy is not paying parents to parent but to pay a deep reverence to all children and provide nothing short of excellent education to all.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Bella, thanks for providing your "been there" perspective! I think you make some excellent points. And Taadie, you are exactly right - they need to expand or think up another phase to the program that will enable the parents to move beyond this.
Taadie Taadie 9 years
It would be interesting to know if most of the parents on this plan do have jobs. I know this woman with 12 children doesnt, but its obvious why they picked her for the story. I wonder if she is the norm or on the extreme end of the spectrum?
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