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1000 days to get it right for every child

1000 days to get it right for every child: Groundhog Day as Child Health Social Monitor confirms huge disparities in child wellbeing  

The Child Health Social Monitor released today confirms there are huge disparities in the wellbeing of New Zealand children, with Pasifika, Māori, those in beneficiary homes, and those in the youngest age group (0-6) suffering hardship with the potential to lead to significant long-term costs.   

“It feels a bit like Groundhog Day as we once again call public and political attention to the levels of deprivation New Zealand children are experiencing and the huge disparities between different groups of children,” said Murray Edridge, Chair of Every Child Counts*.  

“However, the Child Health Social Monitor reinforces the call by Every Child Counts for public and community investment in the most important early years – the first 1000 days of life – that secures every child’s health and wellbeing.  Poor outcomes cost the nation dearly and there are measurable benefits from ensuring appropriate investment in children.  

“This report shows that children in deprivation suffer significantly worse health outcomes than others.  It says that Pasifika children are more likely to be admitted to hospital with sickness or medical conditions with a social gradient.   Māori children are more likely to be admitted to hospital with injuries from assault, neglect or maltreatment and such events are much more likely in high deprivation populations.  Deprivation relates to the socioeconomic environment people live in and includes income, housing and access to other services.      

“The Child Health Social Monitor highlights the impact of high housing costs and signals that New Zealand’s current benefit provisions are unlikely to protect the children of beneficiaries from severe or significant hardship.  

“At a time when living costs are rising, children are increasingly vulnerable to deprivation, but this is particularly so for the 234,572, or 20.4 percent of children, reliant on benefits.  The highest proportion of children on benefits are those in the 0-4 age group – a time when children are the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of deprivation.  

“These are serious issues requiring sustained political commitment and public support.  All New Zealanders have a role in helping improve life for these children and when we achieve it there will be real social and economic benefits,” concluded Mr Edridge.

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