Child welfare must be first priority of 2012

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

A bipartisan approach to child welfare must be the Government’s first priority in 2012, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern said today. Child welfare must be first priority of 2012
A bipartisan approach to child welfare must be the Government’s first priority in 2012, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern said today.

Her call for cross-party support was reignited by information released by the Ministry of Social Development revealing Child Youth and Family paid out more than $837,000 to settle 55 claims where the agency was found to have failed those in its care.

“This is a stark admission that too often state care is substandard,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“I agree that the Ministry has a moral obligation to compensate those victimised while supposedly in the safe hands of state care. But the significant increase in payouts in 2011 is unacceptable.

“Paula Bennett is now into her second term as Social Development Minister; progress on child welfare is in her hands.

“Labour is open to investigating the benefits of an independent body to hear current complaints. However, ensuring agencies themselves are operating as effectively as possible should be the first priority.

“National campaigned on providing a brighter future for New Zealanders. While child welfare bridges a complicated public/private divide in terms of policy, it is the role of government to ensure that there is a balance which puts the needs of children first.

“Addressing this balance must be the first priority when Parliament resumes,” Jacinda Ardern said.
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