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Green Paper for Vulnerable Children - Physicians want action

Physicians call for action on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children

28 February 2012

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is submitting a response on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children. New Zealanders have been asked to share their thoughts on how the Government can do better for our vulnerable young people and provide them with the opportunity to reach their full potential.

The RACP’s response supports the introduction of a Children’s Action Plan which has agreed objectives and timelines for implementation. For the Children’s Action Plan to be successful a lead Government agency and cabinet position representing children should be appointed and enacted in legislation.

To prevent children becoming vulnerable, universal access to support and advice should be provided to parents and family/whanau so they are well informed and equipped to look after their children. This is vital to improve outcomes for New Zealand children.

Increased support for parents of vulnerable children is important and needs to be addressed in the Children’s Action Plan.

Further work on alcohol and drug reform is another key component in the reduction of risk factors leading to child abuse and neglect.

Dr Johan Morreau, RACP New Zealand President and paediatrician said “It is critical to support parents to improve the standard of their parenting by increasing those Well Child and whanau ora services, including significant home visiting. These services have to focus on the family unit as a whole and all of government needs to be engaged with the solutions.”

“Given the complex issues surrounding child wellbeing in New Zealand, it is promising to see the Government seeking widespread consultation on the matter. This has occurred previously without recommendations being implemented so the challenge will be to make this work. The idea of putting in place a long-term action plan that is fixed in legislation for successive governments is critical, however there needs to be input from parents, family/whanau and child-focused organisations to ensure suitable solutions for protecting the needs of vulnerable children are achieved,” said Dr Archie Kerr, Chair of the Paediatrics and Child Health Division Committee of the RACP.

The RACP commends the medical practitioners, parents, families, community groups and agencies who have submitted a response on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children in New Zealand.

About The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)

The RACP trains, educates and advocates on behalf of more than 13,500 physicians – often referred to as medical specialists – and 5,000 trainees, across Australia and New Zealand. The College represents more than 25 medical specialties including paediatrics & child health, cardiology, respiratory medicine, neurology, oncology and public health medicine, occupational & environmental medicine, palliative medicine, sexual health medicine, rehabilitation medicine and addiction medicine. Beyond the drive for medical excellence, the RACP is committed to developing health and social policies which bring vital improvements to the wellbeing of patients. www.racp.edu.au

ENDS

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