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1000 days to get it right for every child

Media release from Every Child Counts

1000 days to get it right for every child: UNICEF Innocenti Report Card on poverty names crisis of monitoring

Embargoed until 12am 30 May 2012

Every Child Counts* says the latest report from the UNICEF Innocenti Research centre in Italy reveals a crisis in monitoring of child poverty and confirms that not protecting children from poverty stores up intractable social and economic problems in the years ahead.

Innocenti Report Card 10, ‘Measuring child poverty: New league tables of child poverty in the world’s rich countries’ will be released in Europe tonight. The report says that leaving children in poverty is “one of the most costly mistakes a society can make.”

“The report confirms what Every Child Counts and many others have been saying for years: that it is children in the early years/ first 1000 days of life that are most vulnerable to the negative impacts of poverty. This highlights the need to closely monitor poverty and deprivation and set time-specific targets to improve the living standards of these children,” says Deborah Morris-Travers, Manager of Every Child Counts.

“Every Child Counts has been working to highlight the economic cost of child poverty in New Zealand – which is estimated to be at least $6bn per annum. This report says the costs of child poverty include reduced skills and productivity; lower levels of health and educational achievement; increased likelihood of unemployment and welfare dependence; higher costs in judicial and social protection systems; and a loss of social cohesion.

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“Those governments most likely to be successful at protecting children from poverty are those that strive to reduce the numbers of low-income households and help to provide essential goods, services, and opportunities for children.

“Successive governments in New Zealand have failed to do this, meaning at least 230,000 children are missing out on the basics. What’s worse is that the full impact of the recession is likely to be delayed - whilst family and community resources are run down - meaning that we are unlikely to have yet seen the worst impacts.

“It is time for all political parties to accept the significant problem child poverty poses to the health and wellbeing of our children, communities, and economy,” concludes Ms Morris-Travers.


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