Internet-based home monitoring services could be a key component in delivering government targets for getting parents back into the workplace, it was claimed today.
The recently released Freud report, Reducing Dependency, Increasing Opportunity: Options for the future of welfare to work, made the controversial recommendation that benefit entitlement for single parents should cease when the youngest child reaches the age of 12 and not 16 as is currently the case.
"The Freud review sets out the case for rebalancing rights and responsibilities in the welfare system," said Jim Murphy, minister for welfare reform.
"If we can offer lone parents greater levels of support it is right that we debate whether they should have a greater responsibility to look for work when their child reaches an appropriate age."
Companies including Intamac argue that technology such as internet-based home monitoring services can allow busy parents to work and still feel that their children are safe.
Kevin Meagher, chief executive at Intamac, said: "We believe technology has a key role to play in the support that government offers to those it is trying to encourage back into the workforce.
"Many of these people will need the reassurance that they can continue to monitor and care for those they are responsible for, as well as hold down a job. "
These technologies include IP cameras which enable remote viewing of homes from any internet connected device via phone, email or text message.
Pin-based entry systems could allow parents to receive an alert at work when their child arrives home from school, for example.
The systems could also be linked to water and smoke detectors to alert owners to floods and fires, and could even monitor normal movement of an elderly fami ly member within the home.
Such systems could be used to send alerts if daily routines do not occur by a specified time each day.
"It is a reality that we have an ageing population and many of the people who will now be required to seek employment will also be responsible for children and/or elderly relatives," said Meagher.
Technology key to getting parents back to work
By Staff Writers on Mar 9, 2007 8:24AM