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National Will Give Our Children A Better Start

27 June 2002

New Zealand is not giving all of it's children the best start in life and is failing to ensure the best care of young children in vulnerable families that desperately need help, National Leader Bill English said today.

Mr English was announcing National's Child Policy that will ensure a good start for every child.

"Under Family Assistance, started by National to give tax relief to low and middle-income families, a working family with three children can earn up to $32,000 without paying tax. Over the years there have a number of initiatives but what is available has become so complicated that families are finding it hard to understand what they are entitled to.

"National will undertake a complete review the Family Assistance programme so that all families entitled to it get it. The review will also assess how a decline in the value of Family Assistance can be addressed.

"National will ensure that many more families have access to home visitation programmes like Family Start, and we will specifically target reducing the level of transience among families.

"Labour has failed to improve the performance of CYFS. Foster care services are in disarray, and children are suffering further harm because CYFS can't meet their needs.

"We will refocus the Child Youth and Family Service by ensuring at risk children get a timely and appropriate response so their short-term and long-term care needs are met. CYFS will be required to deal directly with community agencies with an emphasis on ensuring that children have a permanent secure family life.

"National will increase payment and support for foster carers, and assist kin-carers to meet the cost of on-going rehabilitative services.

"We must ensure that every child gets a good start in life to improve the outcomes for all our children. Our children are our future. National will strive to get the best start we can for them," Mr English said.


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