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Clear expectations of parents welcome

Media Statement

12 September 2012

1000 days to get it right for every child: clear expectations of parents welcome

Every Child Counts* has welcomed the government’s announcement that parents receiving benefits will be expected to ensure their children are accessing well-child health, immunisations and early childhood education. But individual circumstances must be taken into account, and support provided, to enable parents to access the services their children need.

Recent research released by Every Child Counts shows that the welfare of children in New Zealand depends on support for all parents to access these services, not just beneficiaries.

“Every child in New Zealand has a right to the services they need to ensure their health and optimal development, so it makes sense for our society to be clear about its expectations of parents. These expectations should apply to all parents, not just those receiving benefits,” says Liz Gibbs, chair of Every Child Counts.

“The vast majority of parents want the best for their children and if they are educated about the benefits to children of accessing services they are very likely to do so.

“However, there are often barriers to this, especially for low-income families. Barriers can include lack of, or cost of, transport, lack of cultural appropriateness, or simply that services available in their neighbourhood are inadequate.

“We would be very concerned to see beneficiary families having benefits cut. But we also support moves to ensure that children have better access to the services they need so individual circumstances of the families must be taken into account.

When children are healthy and educated there are benefits to all New Zealanders,” concludes Liz Gibbs.

ENDS

*Every Child Counts is a coalition of organisations and individuals working to improve the status and wellbeing of NZ children, driven by Barnardos, Plunket, UNICEF, Save the Children, and Ririki. www.everychildcounts.org.nz

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