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"Investing In Tomorrow’s Society"

"Teachers and schools cannot possibly be expected to keep on taking over more and more social, family and parent type responsibilities," Roger McClay, Commissioner for Children told the Nelson/Marlborough Assistant Deputy Principals professional development day in Blenheim this morning.

Mr McClay outlined the plans he had to establish an education advocacy/liaison service to help meet the needs of local schools and serve the rights of school students.

"When I think about the 80 children and young persons who are told to leave their school premises each day of the school year, I wonder what is to become of our society," he said.

Mr McClay told the education professionals that "if our New Zealand society has not got the time or resources for young people who make mistakes, we sure have our priorities miscued."

He said that already more than 40% of the work of the Office of the Commissioner for Children emanated from the education sector.

He said that the budget this year had provided some funding for the Office of the Commissioner for Children to set up an education advocacy service and that parents and students needed to know and receive their rights in the education sector.

The Office of the Commissioner for Children is to set up community based child advocacy training for those already involved in some form of child advocacy work.

Consultation with key agencies and community organisations about child advocacy provision is to take place over the next three months.

"We want to train and equip local communities to liaise and provide advocacy," said Mr McClay.

Three extra staff have been recruited and all staff at the Office of the Commissioner for Children will be involved.

"Our schools need the help to see that these young people get what is needed to be a part of our society for the next 50, 60 or 70 years," said Mr McClay.

"It is worth investing now. Any investment in our young people is an investment in tomorrow's society," he concluded.

Further inquiries and full speech notes are available - Phone (04) 471-1410.

Office of the Commissioner for Children PO Box 12 537 Thorndon WELLINGTON

phone: 4711 410 phone fax: 4711 418 fax

email: children@occ.org.nz email


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