Green Paper submissions show Minister must deal with poverty

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has welcomed the release of the summary of submissions to the government's Green Paper on Vulnerable Children. The great number of submissions shows New Zealanders are passionate about the care and protection of children.

The summary clearly shows the Green Paper's narrow focus on funding children's specialist services is too narrow, and the government must start dealing with the poverty and inequality that make children vulnerable to violence. The submissions show people understand that children need to be supported by their families and communities, and that families in turn need to be well supported through policies that ensure income adequacy and equitable access to services.

Children and young people want their peers to have equal opportunities and access to services, and for schools to be well supported. They also identify that low incomes and socio-economic inequality contribute to putting children and young people at risk.

CPAG spokesperson Alan Johnson says the views of children and young people need to be heeded. “The submissions show children and young people take a wider view of why they and their families are vulnerable than the Green Paper. Despite the Minister's efforts to take poverty out of the discussion, children and young people have made it plain that poverty and inequality limit their opportunities. The government cannot continue to ignore what is evident to children and young people."

Alan Johnson says, “The submissions give a solid basis from which to start putting in place policies that protect all children and support all families. The government must stop hiding behind fiscal austerity and start investing in children and families. As one young submitter said, if parents cannot support their children in a positive way, the government should help parents to help their children."