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Children Get Their `Own' Day

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-CHILD-YOUTH-AND-FAMILY

New Zealand's children are to get their very own national day.

Child, Youth and Family, Barnardos and the Office of the Commissioner for Children are the three key agencies behind the push to mark the last Sunday in October as Children's Day.

Children's Day 2000, on 29 October this year, will be launched tomorrow, Wednesday, by the Minister of Social Services Steve Maharey at Wellington High School.

"Child, Youth and Family is proud to be a key agency which has helped create this inaugural day," says Jackie Brown, Chief Executive of Child, Youth and Family. "In the lead up to 29 October, we want all adults to think about spending time with children. They are our treasure and we, as a community, can do simple things on the day and every day to be more responsive and protective of them."

Roger McClay, Commissioner for Children, says children have often told him they want adults to spend more time with them, "so a day focussing on letting our children know that we believe in them, trust them and want to listen to and care for them is what it's all about."

Ian Calder, Chief Executive Officer of Barnardos, says improving the lives of our children is something we can always think about. "A national day to celebrate children is a wonderful idea and one that is long overdue. We have special days for mothers and for fathers that help to remind us to celebrate these relationships. What could be more important than celebrating our children they are our future."

15,000 community groups have been sent a letter from the three agencies announcing the day and suggesting ways to organise activities to celebrate children on the day.

The agencies want Children's Day to become unique to New Zealand society. "It is a time for parents, extended families and communities to create interesting and fun occasions and events where they can celebrate children," says Jackie Brown. "It's about spending time with children, not money."

A Children's Day Kit will be widely distributed in August with suggested activities for Children's Day as well as simple activities that adults can do with children. To find out more about Children's Day, visit the web site at www.childrensday.org.nz.

ENDS

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