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Child PovertyAffects the Most Vulnerable

MEDIA RELEASE FROM CCS DISABILITY ACTION

7 August 2008

Child Poverty in New Zealand Affects the Most Vulnerable

CCS Disability Action welcomes the release today of the report from the Children’s Commissioner “A Fair Go for all Children - Actions to Address Child Poverty in New Zealand.”

While highlighting the deprivation faced by New Zealand children living in poverty the report also states that of these, disabled children are significantly over represented, with 40% of disabled children with moderate to high needs living in benefit dependent families.

“The extreme vulnerability of disabled children and the barriers their families face in trying to rise above the poverty line are issues flagged in this report and they must be addressed by Government,” says CCS Disability Action CEO Viv Maidaborn.

Some of the solutions are not costly - for example, flexible disability support funding based on individual need would go a long way to better supporting families of disabled children. Currently Government funding can be so restrictive and inflexible that families are often blocked from using the funds in a way that meets their needs.

The actions recommended in the report, if implemented, will go a long way to improving child wellbeing but to have a positive impact on the lives of disabled children there are specific barriers that need to be addressed.

The report recommends better access to early childhood education, after school care, better housing provision and assistance for parents to get back into work.

“These strategies will be of great benefit to disabled children but only if Government works to remove the attitudinal and physical barriers and lack of resources that currently exclude them from early childhood education, from school, and from after school care,” adds Viv Maidaborn.

CCS Disability Action believes that it is imperative that disabled children are able to fully benefit from the actions recommended in this report and that specific strategies are developed to ensure the inequities faced by disabled children and their families are addressed.

“All New Zealand children deserve better and all means disabled children too,” adds Viv Maidaborn.

***ENDS***


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