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Spare A Thought For Vulnerable Children Over Holidays

8 January 2012

Spare A Thought For Vulnerable Children Over Holidays

The child abuse prevention network Jigsaw is urging people to take time during the holidays to think hard about ways we can protect children from violence in the home.

Jigsaw says it’s important that people from all communities and walks of life have input into the Government’s Green Paper on Vulnerable Children. Submissions on the paper close on February 28.

Jigsaw’s Chief Executive (Strategic Operations) Liz Kinley says the holiday season is the perfect time to stop and talk to each other, perhaps around the barbeque or over the fence, about how we all can protect children and allow them to thrive.

“Too often life is a rush and we don’t stop to discuss what we would like to see or think about the sort of things that might provide extra support for children and young people,” Liz says.

The Green Paper asks things such as how do you balance the needs of children versus the needs of families, how to provide the best care when you’ve got limited resources and how do you support communities to look after their own children.

Two of the more contentious issues in the Green Paper are increasing information sharing between government departments and community agencies, and introducing mandatory reporting of child abuse.

At a recent Jigsaw national conference, agencies who are part of the Jigsaw network felt that information that would enhance safety should be shared, because it would prevent overload and duplication of services.

But they said there need to be clear parameters set around what information was shared and why and ‘fishing trips’ for information were not OK.

Liz Kinley hopes that ordinary New Zealanders will get involved in the debate because the government, police and social service providers don’t have the monopoly on caring for children.

Child abuse is not going to be solved solely by government policy or changes to legislation; it’s about getting whole communities involved,” Liz Kinley says.


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