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Child and youth strategy a once-in-a-generation opportunity

Media release

29 August 2019

Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy – a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get things right

Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft welcomes the launch of New Zealand’s first comprehensive strategy to meet the rights and needs of our children and young people.

Commissioner Becroft says the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy is world-leading. It is a tremendous step for children and a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get things right.

“It is hugely significant to have a long-term, cross-government strategy to make a real difference to children and young people’s lives.

“New Zealanders believe our children should have the very best life they can, and we see that reflected in the Strategy’s six desired outcomes. The outcomes describe what children and young people need, what they say they want, and what they have the right to expect in their lives.

“Most importantly, the outcomes are based on what more than 6,000 children and young people told us about their vision of wellbeing, or what it means to have a good life. Their voices have been listened to and their views considered in this Strategy.

“I am encouraged by the Strategy’s measurable outcomes and long-term commitment to change. But good implementation of the Strategy will be the key to its success. We will need every government department and community organisation working together to achieve real change for children.

“It will also be important to continuously review actions taken under the Strategy to make sure they contribute to positive change, and to be willing to change direction if needed.

“We won’t be able to achieve these outcomes for all children without dramatically improving services and supports for tamariki and rangatahi Māori. The government has a responsibility to meet their needs according to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and to address the ongoing effects of colonisation, systemic racism and discrimination. It is great to see the Strategy has a strong focus in this area.

“This Strategy is a great starting point with a solid foundation to build on. I am excited by the potential for real positive change in the lives of children and young people because of it.

“We look forward to holding this and future governments to account for its delivery.

“I also acknowledge the government’s announcement of a trial of free school lunches for primary and intermediate aged students in schools with high levels of disadvantage. We know one in five children experience food insecurity which has a very detrimental effect on their wellbeing and ability to focus on learning while at school. This is something I have consistently advocated for and I look forward to the day when free lunches are provided to all New Zealand children,” says Commissioner Becroft.

ENDS

Note to editors:

In partnership with Oranga Tamariki, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner heard from more than 6,000 children and young people about what a good life is and what they thought were the most important areas to focus on to make things better for all children and young people. These voices informed the development of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. Read What Makes a Good Life.


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