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National Will Give Children The Best Start In Life

The non-disclosure of child abuse will be an offense and there will be reduction targets for children suffering material hardship in a National Government, National’s Social Development Spokesperson Louise Upston says, as the party launched its Families & Children policy.

“This builds on our comprehensive First 1000 Days policy and aims to protect children from abuse and mistreatment within their own homes. We will bring people to justice who stand by and do nothing when children are being abused,” Ms Upston says.

“Every child deserves the best start in life and the opportunity to achieve their full potential. We are willing to legislate to ensure that children are better off,” Children spokesperson, Alfred Ngaro says.

Upston launched the Families & Children policy alongside Tim Macindoe MP for Hamilton West today in Hamilton.

The Families & Children Policy will:

· Make non-disclosure of child abuse an offence, with a maximum three year sentence for failing to provide information about child abuse to police.

· Drive a reduction in child poverty by establishing a meaningful reduction target for what really counts – the number of children suffering material hardship.

· Implement regular reporting and a clear reduction target for the number of children experiencing physical and sexual abuse, to reveal the full extent of the problem in New Zealand and focus the public sector on stamping out abuse.

· Implement enhanced screening, with pre-birth & post-birth GP visits, and a revamped B4 School check at age three to identify developmental concerns, screen for trauma, brain injury and foetal alcohol syndrome, and trigger early intervention services.

· Empower parents with a funding entitlement of $3000 to allocate between whatever services they believe best meet their needs and the needs of their child.

· Establish a National Centre for Child Development, which brings together the best of health, education research and neuroscience and develops new products and services to support parents and children during the first 1000 days and beyond.

· Improve the reach of Whānau Ora to communities where it is not yet provided or more difficult to access.

“National knows that there is a responsibility for Government – working together with communities, whānau, schools, and iwi to intervene when children are experiencing material hardship, suffering from abuse or being denied the basics that enable them to thrive,” Ms Upston says.

“This announcement further enhances the work of Whānau Ora for Māori and Pacifica families,” Mr Ngaro says.

“National will ensure Kiwi children grow up with opportunities by having a strong, dynamic and growing economy that provides every adult with the means to provide for their children.”

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