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Important first steps but more needed to end child poverty

22 May 2015

Budget 2015: Important first steps but more needed to end child poverty

Every Child Counts welcomes measures in the budget designed to improve child wellbeing and reduce child poverty, such as an increase in benefit rates.

“The Government deserves recognition for standing up and committing itself to addressing child poverty" says Lisa Woods, Executive Officer of Every Child Counts.

"While changes announced in the budget are positive, it's important to keep in mind that these are first steps and there is still much more to be done.

"Meaningful change requires a sustained programme of work across a range of areas, including addressing disparities, ensuring adequate income and affordable housing, supporting parents, strengthening communities, and providing accessible and quality early childhood education.

"Given this, we'd like to see the development of on overarching child poverty action plan in order to ensure accountability and assess progress.

"It is also critical that we keep central the needs of children and ensure policies and programmes are family and whānau centred. For example there is a clear policy focus on moving parents into paid work, and while we recognise paid work can be a pathway out of poverty, it must not be at the expense of the incredibly important work that is parenting.

"We know from child poverty statistics that many families living in poverty are already in paid employment, but there also exist very real barriers for many families entering the workforce, especially sole parents. We would be concerned if the focus on paid work undermined the important role of parenting, especially in the younger years when the developmental gains are significant" says Ms Woods.


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