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Budget 2005 delivers small package for families

19 May 2005
Media statement

For immediate use

Budget 2005 delivers small package for families

The Budget delivers a range of small but important initiatives in support of families but there is a need for coordination of the programmes, says Plunket.

Plunket New Zealand President, Kaye Crowther said, "The initiatives announced in the Budget which are designed to provide assistance to parents and children are small, but important. The announcement of the Parenting Support Pilot to build on current Well Child Health services, for example, brings a welcome focus to the early years. This focus responds to the wealth of evidence that a child's first few months and years of life set down the brain foundations for all future learning, health and socialisation.

"Other initiatives, such as $12m to fund child advocates in situations of family violence; increased support for childcare; new early childhood education funding; a parenting programme to reduce the trauma of parental separation; and significant additional scholarships for the early childhood education sector are all positive moves.

"What this Budget lacks is recognition that everyone needs parenting education and access to information about child development even BEFORE they become parents. It also fails to provide genuine choices to parents when it comes to childcare, and the decision about whether to work or stay at home. I look forward to the day when government invests in compulsory parenting education and genuinely values parenting for the contribution it makes to our society and economy."

Plunket CEO Paul Baigent added, "Many of the initiatives contained in the Budget, will only be effective if they are coordinated across government, developed so they're sustainable into the future and delivered in partnership with non-governmental organisations.

"At present, existing programmes supporting infant development are not well funded. Hopefully the new Parenting Support Pilot will lead to additional government investment in support of the Well Child Framework. The Well Child Framework is only partially implemented with the needs of first-time parents and high needs families not yet being fully supported by government. Most families are yet to receive their full entitlement of well child contacts.

"We welcome the announcements in the Budget as a signal that government recognises the importance of the early years and we hope investment in this area will continue into the future," he concluded.

Ends

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