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Plunket welcomes investment in the early years

Media Release
15 October 2008
For immediate release

Plunket welcomes investment in the early years

In the lead up to the election, Plunket is looking for all political parties to keep children high on the agenda.

"We are delighted to hear about a proposed increase in funding for maternity and well child services from National. Over recent years we have been working with current government, who have already made a significant increase in investment of funding in the well child services," says Carol Becker, New Zealand President, Plunket.

"It is vital that we get cross party support for the whole well child sector to ensure a positive future for children – so we will be looking to all parties for their commitment to getting the best start for children, especially for those who are most vulnerable.

"A focus of investment in early childhood – particularly in the first five years – is most likely to benefit families, New Zealand and society as a whole. Focusing on giving our children the best start in life is vital – it will help us create a better society. We want to see all political parties show their commitment to the under fives," says Mrs Becker.

As part of its Five Years For Under Fives future focus, Plunket is calling for New Zealand to take responsibility for providing more support and increased investment in the first five years of children's lives.

There are a complex range of contributing factors to the appalling state of our children's health and wellbeing, and Plunket believes more focus on wellness is essential.

Plunket is calling for the whole of New Zealand to take actions that will make a real difference and these are:
• Increasing investment in the early years
• Making parenting education freely available to all – and part of the core curriculum in schools
• Ensuring families have a 'well child' champion to connect them to the services they need
• Expanding well child to embrace well family
• Ensuring support is available to all families through a national 'well child' database

Plunket is pledging to deliver more support in accordance with families' needs; advocate for increased investment for the under fives; work with others in the sector to create an integrated, shared network of support, so that every family will be given the opportunity to access the services they need.

Plunket is partly funded through government contracts to provide services such as the Well Child contract with the Ministry of Health. Additional services, such as family centres, parenting education, parent groups and toy libraries are funded through a combination of support from businesses and through local fundraising.


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