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Barnardos welcomes Budget help for children, more needed

Press Release: 26 May 2016

Barnardos welcomes Budget help for children, says more needed

Barnardos welcomes the Budget’s prioritised social investment and extra funding and support for children and young people.

“As New Zealand’s largest children’s charity, supporting more than 50,000 children every year through our social and early childhood services, we welcome any extra funding that helps care for and protect the most vulnerable members of society - our children,” says Chief Executive Jeff Sanders.

“The announcement of additional operating funding which includes an independent youth advocacy service, raising the age of care and protection, caregiver recruitment and training, workforce training and development and better access for support for caregivers, (all recommendations of the Expert Panel Report on ‘Investing in New Zealand’s Children and their Families’), is excellent news. As is the increased investment in ensuring more children can access early childhood education and the investment for healthier and warmer homes for low-income families.

“Barnardos, which has supported New Zealand’s children and their families for 60 years, knows that investing in children is investing in a brighter future. It makes sense.”

However, Mr Sanders cautions that changing the outcomes for vulnerable children isn’t only reliant on government funding and agencies like Barnardos supporting vulnerable children and families. “It’s the job of every New Zealander to step up and claim these children as our own. We must connect with those around us and get involved, reach out when we think we are needed, and speak up when we know we have to.

“It’s when government and non-government agencies are supported by communities and everyday New Zealanders who are prepared to step up, as those who attended the rallies around the country did last Sunday, that we finally start to address the complicated issues of what makes children vulnerable.”

Barnardos’ key reservation with the Budget is the question of how much of the additional funding will actually support agencies to provide frontline services.

“The Expert Panel’s Report talks about the increasingly important role that agencies like Barnardos will play in supporting vulnerable children. This makes sense, as Barnardos is less threatening and less bureaucratic for families. However, on the face of it the additional funding seems to be directed at investing in transforming government agencies. And as important as this is, of equal importance is a resilient NGO sector and that is getting increasingly threatened,” Mr Sanders says.

ENDS

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