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Government child spotting bad news for families




31 January 2008

Government child spotting bad news for families

The Family Party says Labour’s plans to screen and monitor pre-school and school aged children for anti-social behaviour could do more harm than good to New Zealand families.

Richard Lewis says while early intervention measures appear genuine in the face of concerning youth crime trends; there is a significant risk of unwarranted and potentially damaging state intervention.

“Tagging children as future criminals based on an episode of bad behaviour could be incredibly damaging for the child and their family. Testing boundaries and having a dust-up in the schoolyard is entirely natural and a part of growing up. It should be allowed to happen without tying a child to a therapist’s chair,” says Mr Lewis.

He says closer parent and teacher relationships should be the focus and sufficient enough to deal with any behavioural concerns that might arise during early childhood and in the classroom. In cases where genuine concerns are identified, caregivers should be encouraged to take the initiative to seek appropriate help before the state intervenes.

Mr Lewis says that parents should be able to seek help from family and parenting support agencies that are independent from Government and have a proven track record of assistance.

“We send our kids to school to learn, not to be psychiatrically assessed and tested,” he added.


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