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Child Protection agency supports call on Government

Press Release

Child Protection agency supports call on Government

ECPAT Child ALERT, a child protection agency supports the new briefing paper released today by UNICEF NZ, entitled What Will it Take, that summarises the common themes from 80 organisations’ recent submissions to the Government’s Green Paper on Vulnerable Children.

Alan Bell, Director says ”We are pleased to be a supporting partner to this briefing paper as well as having made an independent submission. That so many organisations have supported this response must send a strong signal to government that there is real concern in the community for the well-being of our children. The test will now be seeing what the Government response is going to be.”

The briefing paper includes three themes that ECPAT Child ALERT particularly supports –

• The wellbeing of all children in New Zealand needs to be a priority. Of concern to many organisations is that the term ‘vulnerable’ was not clearly defined in the Green Paper. All children are essentially vulnerable…..

• Government responsibility toward children who are vulnerable will not be met by service provision alone. Recognising and attending to how poverty, deprivation and social and economic disparities can be addressed is a vital element if we are to make a real difference for all children….

• To create tangible and long-term change, the Government needs to create a true Action Plan for all children. An investment in the early years prevents higher costs later in a child’s life, through much more expensive remedial interventions and lost potential……

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Bell says “We need to recognise that all children are vulnerable. As an agency working to prevent the sexual exploitation of children we are only too well aware of children being abused right across the spectrum of society. All too often children are denied their basic rights of freedom, safety and protection from abuse. This is not just a Government responsibility. We all need to take every measure to ensure children are enabled to grow to their full potential.”

The Green Paper serves as a participatory discussion forum and the responses will be considered by Government who will then develop a White Paper. White Papers are generally used as a means of presenting government preferences prior to the introduction of legislation or significant changes in direction, policy or approaches.

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