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Decline in child poverty numbers prompts plea from KidsCan

Thursday 7 December 2017

Decline in child poverty numbers prompts plea from KidsCan

KidsCan hopes the slight decline in child poverty rates in this year’s Child Poverty Monitor won’t stop Kiwis from keeping the significant issue of children living in hardship at the top of their minds.

The just released 2017 Child Poverty Monitor reveals a one to two per cent drop across the measures of child poverty in New Zealand.

CEO and Founder, Julie Chapman says, “while any drop in child poverty numbers should be celebrated it doesn’t mean New Zealanders should sit back and say ‘yes, job done’.

“We should certainly be proud. But the results are just reflecting the concerted effort by charities like ours, the Child Poverty Action Group and government, to remove the barriers keeping people in a cycle of dependence.

“This year alone, KidsCan has gone from supporting 600 schools to a milestone 700. That’s an increase from 135,000 children to 168,000 who have access to our programmes providing the basics – food at school, clothing and health items. There are still 2,590 children on our waiting list. We have also seen an increased need for food with 30,000 children a week now being fed by KidsCan.

“It makes sense, if you’re reaching more people, the numbers of those in need will go down. It doesn’t mean we as a country have solved the problem. In fact, I’m tremendously troubled by the extent of deprivation we’re witnessing in the communities we support.

“In the 12 years of supporting children in need, this is as bad as I’ve seen. We’re now seeing families who have to share a towel between them, who share toothbrushes – one for the adults, one for the children. There is so little left over for necessities that parents are missing meals so their children don’t go without. Plus, more and more families can’t afford basic hygiene items – no shampoo, no deodorant, no sanitary products.”

KidsCan is asking New Zealanders to recognise what an incredibly crucial time this is as there are still thousands of Kiwi kids in need of help. 135,000 children are living in households without 7 or more of the basics they need, including shoes, clothing, and food.

“What we do next will determine the future of this country. New Zealand is at a crossroads. We either keep rallying in support and build on the momentum being achieved lifting the standard of living for all New Zealanders. Or we head down another path - lose our collective resolve and wait for the Government’s social policies to bed in.

“Government policy takes time to form and enact. Any lasting long-term political change won’t happen overnight and children need help today. That’s why KidsCan has a challenge for New Zealanders,” explain Julie Chapman.
“Remember change starts with one, and it’s super charged when one become many. Right now, going into Christmas there are 2590 children waiting for KidsCan’s help. $15 a month that’s all it takes to become a KidsCan monthly donor and make 2018 a year of new beginnings for the 19 schools waiting for help.”

– ENDS –

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