Left Further Behind - how policies fail the poorest children in New Zealand» 14/09/2011, Posted by Site Admin
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has released a report about government policies that fail children living in poverty and makes recommendations for policy change.
The Executive Summary states that:
'The core message of this publication is simple: ALL children, irrespective of the status and position of their parent/carer, are entitled to the best possible support from their parent/s and all New Zealand society. Together, we share responsibility for ensuring that children are given that support. While charity can make a useful contribution to assist and support children and families experiencing particular stresses, it cannot solve the problem of poverty, and poverty is the major problem facing around 200,000 New Zealand children. That solution requires collective action from families and communities; and it requires a commitment from the Government to make investing in our children the highest priority.'
Each chapter of the report addresses specific issues and recommendations for change, with seven key recommendations emerging:
* Monitor major indicators of child poverty and report these on a regular basis with specific target reductions to be met on the way to ending child poverty by 2020; and fund child-impact assessments of existing and future national and local policies
* Create a senior Cabinet position with responsibility for children, such as a Minister for Children, to support the move toward a child-centred approach to policy and legislation
* Remove work-based rules for child financial assistance and pay the equivalent of the In-Work- Tax-Credit to all low income families. Simplify administration of tax credits
* Acknowledge the vital social and economic contribution made by good parenting: ensure that affordable, appropriate childcare and early childhood education, including kohanga reo and playcentres, is available for all children; and ensure that training allowances support sole parents education where appropriate
* Provide free access to healthcare for all children under age six, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
* The Government develop and fund a national housing plan to address the emerging housing shortages identified by the Department of Building. Meanwhile, ensure that housing is affordable and appropriate (eg address overcrowding, dampness, cold)
* Provide adequate funding for low decile schools to ensure that all children have access to high quality education.
The report is available from the CPAG website at: www.cpag.org.nz/
Several audio items regarding the report, including interviews with CPAG representative Susan St John, care available from Radio NZ at: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/20110913