Australian Parents Face Mandatory Classes When Kids are Caught Drinking

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The state government of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia requires parents of underage drinkers to attend mandatory counseling sessions with their kids or face a $500 fine, the Sydney Morning Herald reported April 7.

The program, which officials say is intended to educate, not punish parents, has been operating in one Sydney neighborhood since 1999, and now the NSW government is considering expanding it to other areas. "It's not about parents being charged with offenses," sand NSW Police Minister David Campbell. "It's about saying to parents, 'This is what your child has been up to, do you condone it, do you support it?'"

Government officials are evaluating the program's effectiveness before deciding if it should be expanded.

"My view about binge drinking, or binge eating, is that it ultimately comes down to personal responsibility," said Barry O'Farrell, leader of the local political opposition. "What we need to be doing is educating both parents and children alike about the responsible use of alcohol, the responsible use of foodstuffs."