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Urgent need to do more for children

6 October 2003

Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Urgent need to do more for children

The United Nations report on New Zealand's progress implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child highlights concern shared by the Progressives and Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa today, that we need to invest more in our children says Progressive Deputy Leader, Matt Robson MP.

"Clearly this government is concerned about the wellbeing of children. The Children's Agenda, the Youth Development Strategy, Child Health Strategy and Disability Strategies are all supported by the UN report.

"We do urgently need to do more, and get the work well underway however, because every year a child goes wanting can affect their health, well being and educational achievement for the rest of their lives.

"There is no better investment than to ensure our children have good food, healthy homes, top quality education, strong families and an ability to participate in their communities.

"Research in the United States on the economic impact of quality early childhood education programmes shows that for every dollar invested there was a return of over $7 in individual, educational, social welfare and socioeconomic benefits. This shows that there is no good reason to hold off on investing in child wellbeing.

"Key suggestions in the UN report which the Progressives will be strongly pushing for in the next budget round, inside of government are:
1. Prioritising children in the budget.
2. Raising the level of family support.
3. Expanding and strengthening care and protection services.
4. Improving the health of children, including raising the standard of housing for low income families.
5. Ensuring all children have an adequate standard of living.
6. Ensuring access to education, including expanding access to early childhood education especially for children of low income families.

"We will also be raising these issues in discussions about work life balance and in relation to the work of the Families Commission," said Matt Robson MP.


More info on the Chicago study by Professor Arthur Reynolds, Wisconsin (Madison) University:

http://www.news.wisc.edu/view.html?get=8632

http://www.waisman.wisc.edu/cls/index.htmlx


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