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Children’s Day highlights child protection

24 October 2001 Media Statement

Children’s Day highlights child protection challenges

Children’s Day 2001 this Sunday highlights significant child protection challenges for New Zealanders, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Speaking at a pre-Children’s Day picnic attended by Prime Minister Helen Clark at Parliament today, Steve Maharey said the main aim of Sunday’s national event is that children should be celebrated, nurtured and treasured by all. However he noted that there had been high-profile cases of child abuse in recent years, along with many other cases that had not come to public attention.

“Investing in children now pays dividends for the future of us all. Tragically too many young New Zealanders are missing out on getting the love and support they should be able to expect as a basic human right.

“As a nation we face a series of challenges:
- to strengthen our cultural and our societal beliefs and the way we practice them to underpin child safety and well-being;
- to foster a sense in our communities that everyone is responsible and has a part to play in child protection and making our children’s lives happy; and,
- to build community and social networks that make for environments where child abuse is less able to exist.”

“The answer to meeting these challenges lies in educating individuals to take responsibility for ending abuse, combined with the strength of everyone working together to attack the problem.

“I encourage everyone to spend some time this Sunday with the children who mean most to them and to think about we can all contribute to making New Zealand the best country in the world again to be a kid,” Steve Maharey said.

Steve Maharey said he would be attending a Children’s Day event at the Lower North Youth Justice Centre in Palmerston North this Sunday.

To find out more about Children’s Day events in local areas visit www.childrensday.org.nz on the internet.

ENDS

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