Government programme can improve life for children…or not

Press Release – Every Child Counts

The Speech from the Throne delivered today to mark the opening of the 50th Parliament identified some important areas of work that would impact on children – for good or for bad.Government programme has the potential to improve life for children…or not

The Speech from the Throne delivered today to mark the opening of the 50th Parliament identified some important areas of work that would impact on children – for good or for bad.

“The policy priorities of welfare reform, support for teenage parents, increasing participation in early childhood education, and the ministerial committee on poverty all have the potential to improve life for children if policy is developed and implemented with children as a central consideration,” says Liz Gibbs, Chair of Every Child Counts.

“Equally, policy in areas such as welfare has the potential to significantly undermine the social and economic conditions for children if implemented punitively and without any consideration of the likely impact on children. We recommend the use of child impact assessments so that policy impacts on children are transparent and any negative impacts can be mitigated.

“There is growing acknowledgement internationally that countries wanting strong economies need to address inequality and ensure children get a good start in the early years- the first 1000 days of life. We can achieve this if every minister at the Cabinet table and alll relevant government departments maintain a focus on ensuring effective public investment in children and their families.

“This time of global fiscal and economic crisis, presents a good opportunity to be innovative in the development and delivery of policy by putting children at the centre, reprioritising investment so that children’s needs are met and speaking positively about the place of children in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“The return on investment in children is high, so we encourage the government to be bold and make children the priority,” concludes Liz Gibbs.

Every Child Counts is a coalition led by Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF, Save the Children and Te Kahui Mana Ririki working to increase the status and wellbeing of New Zealand children.

www.everychildcounts.org.nz

ENDS

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