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Bill to improve financial security for foster children drawn

Bill to improve financial security for foster children drawn

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker’s Members’ Bill to help improve the future financial security of foster children by providing access to KiwiSaver for children in foster care has been drawn from the ballot this afternoon and will be debated in Parliament.

“The KiwiSaver (Foster Parent Opting in for Children in their Care) Amendment Bill will make it possible for any foster parent, or Kin carer, to open a KiwiSaver account for a foster child in their care,” Mr Walker says.

“I am delighted that my Bill was drawn from the members’ ballot today. Foster children are among the most vulnerable children in New Zealand and foster parents and Kin carers go through significant barriers to establish suitability for care.

“There are many foster parents and carers who want to provide the best possible future for the children in their care, even if they never achieve legal guardianship. That includes ensuring that their foster child has some financial security.

“My Bill will make it possible for any foster parent, or Kin carer, who has proof of their foster responsibility to directly approach a KiwiSaver provider to open an account for a foster child in their care.

“At present, the only way for a foster parent or Kin carer to open a KiwiSaver account is by application to their allocated social worker and it relies on a complex process within a bureaucratic framework.

“A KiwiSaver account is the only financial instrument that no-one except the owner of the account itself can access. KiwiSaver has also offered not to charge for the accounts of foster children until there is a significant sum in the account.

“The passage of his Bill would add to the work National undertook during its time in Government to improve the lives of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children. I hope that Parliament supports this Bill to first reading.”

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