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1st steps toward a more child family friendly city

First steps toward a more child and family friendly city

Auckland City’s campaign to ensure that children and families’ voices are heard took a significant step today when the council’s Community Development and Equity Committee endorsed a draft child and family policy for public consultation.

The policy seeks to ensure that council decision makers are more mindful of the needs of children and families in a long-term effort to make Auckland city a nurturing, exciting and safe place for all children and their families.

The main objectives of the policy are to: give children and their families a voice help children and their families be more active and healthy provide a welcoming and safe environment for children and their families work with children and families and keep them informed.

The policy also supports the continuation of existing child-focused programmes such as walking school buses and music in parks.

Chairperson of the Community Development and Equity Committee Councillor Cathy Casey believes the policy will have far-reaching benefits for communities and be a valuable tool for council officers.

“I am excited about seeing this policy in action. Children and families are sometimes overlooked in council decision-making processes. The policy will encourage more comprehensive consideration of their needs – which can only lead to a positive, more inclusive city. I am proud that Auckland City is at the forefront of policy making in this area.”

The policy has been drafted after extensive research was collected from over 1000 children during July and August last year. The children, aged between 3 and 15 years, were asked to complete a questionnaire and draw their interpretation of a child and family friendly Auckland city.

Main findings from the research were that most children value being part of a community and would like more opportunities to take part in sporting and arts activities. The majority also said that they would prefer to travel to school by bike, ferry or train, not by car.

“The way we successfully engaged children in the development of this policy was a shining example of how children’s voices can be heard and I encourage everyone to look closely at their comments,” says Dr Casey.

In April and May 2005, Auckland City will be asking residents to comment on the draft policy. The council wants to encourage parents to engage in discussion with their children and help to capture their feedback.

For more information on the draft child and family policy, please call (09) 379 2020 or visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/childandfamily

Ends Note to editors: Children’s drawings and comments are available on request.

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