The Latest: Putting Children at the Centre: Making policy as if children mattered, Educational Philosophy and Theory (July 2014)

Putting Children at the Centre: Making policy as if children mattered, Educational Philosophy and Theory (July 2014)

Associate Professor Susan St John

What do we mean when we say we want to put children at the centre of policy? What are the moral justifications for this approach? Has it become harder for us to understand this concept, when in practice paid work has been at the centre? In part confusion arises because the unpaid work of caring for children is invisible until it is marketized. In turn, the underlying problem is that we have forgotten our traditions of egalitarianism and adopted a powerful mindset that is proving to be paralyzing. Exploring New Zealand family policies such as paid parental leave (PPL), early childhood education, child tax credits (CTC) suggests that there is much room for improvement if the needs of children are to come first. But first and foremost we must have a very different, child-centric, colour-blind, non-judgmental change of heart.

The cost of GP visits for 6-17 year olds in New Zealand (July 2014)

Cheyanaathan Haran, Catherine Ruscoe

Child Poverty Action Group’s nationwide study of the cost of GP visits found most GPs were charging for children over 6, for both in-hours and after-hours visits, with fees at some general practices exceeding $80 for after-hours visits.  This is of concern because of New Zealand’s high rates of hospital admissions for diseases which are preventable by GP management. The study involved 280 practices from the 20 District Health Boards.


New Zealand must invest in all new-borns (January 2014)

Associate Professor Susan St John.

New Zealand’s Paid Parental Leave (PPL) and the Parental Tax Credit (PTC), a part of Working for Families, are designed to give parents with newborns some extra financial assistance. Both have narrow, work-based eligibility requirements. If a family doesn’t meet these narrow requirements, then there is no extra help.


New Zealand's debt society and child poverty (February 2014)

Dr M. Claire Dale

Low income families who struggle to find enough money for the weekly household expenses can become trapped in a downward spiral of debt when they borrow from third-tier or fringe lenders (loan sharks) at uncapped interest rates. Income for necessities like food, rent and electricity is squeezed by debt servicing and repayments. This paper provides real life case studies to highlight the negative effects loan sharks have on our communities and our children as well as what we can do about it.


Children and the Canterbury Earthquakes (February 2014)

Nicola Shirlaw

As Christchurch continues the slow grind towards recovery, what is it like for the children still living here?  To help answer this question, this paper will first briefly consider the international research into how children and young people are affected by natural disasters and how the Canterbury earthquakes fit within this framework.  In particular, or at least where possible, how this has affected Christchurch’s most vulnerable children.  The second part of this paper will focus on two issues; housing and schools in post-earthquake Christchurch.   These have been chosen for a number of reasons.  First, long-term difficulties after a natural disaster are more likely to be present in children who have lost their homes and are forced to relocate, and in children whose schools are disrupted in some way, for example, by having to move or introduce changes to the school day or programme.  Secondly, getting both these issues right post-disaster plays an important part in a child’s recovery, and third, because for many Christchurch children home and school have yet to return to pre-earthquake “normal”.