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VOYCE Whakarongo-mai: New Government Must Uphold Parental Responsibility To Children In Care.

VOYCE - Whakarongo-Mai welcomes the new Government and looks forward to working with them to ensure that all tamariki and rangatahi live with love and mana.

Tamariki in care are some of our most structurally marginalized children. VOYCE would like to take this opportunity to highlight the important role of parental responsibility the new Government now holds for the roughly 4,500 children who are currently in the care of the state. As our new Government prepares to take on this responsibility, VOYCE - Whakarongo-Mai, would like to remind the Government of their obligations.

These obligations are laid out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and have been given voice through the Six Promises collated by care experienced rangatahi.

In the lead up to the election VOYCE - Whakarongo-Mai, led by care experienced young leaders, brought a petition to parliament asking each political party to sign and honour the Six Promises and commit to working collaboratively to ensure that these are upheld.

VOYCE - Whakarongo-Mai was encouraged to note National and ACT party representatives supported the petition and vocalised their party’s support and commitment to ensuring these promises were kept in the next term of Parliament.

These include the promise to (1) ensure that all children and young people whom the Government has parental responsibility for are provided with their basic needs, including safe, warm and stable housing, access to kai, and the support and care they require to do more than just survive, but to thrive.

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They include the promise to (2) ensure that children and young people in care have safety and stability, and to make certain that when a child is brought into care that they are kept safe and provided with the same love, care and manaaki that our political leaders would endeavour to offer to their own children.

These promises also involve (3) supporting children and young people to attain their personal goals, hopes, dreams and aspirations through ensuring that children and young people in care can engage in education in a manner which meets their needs. They also include the commitment to ensuring that (4) young people and children in care receive health care which is appropriate and consistent, and that (5) children in care are empowered to have a voice in the decisions being made about them and their future.

The Government also has a responsibility to ensure that (6) children and young people in care are supported to feel confident about who they are, that they receive the opportunity to learn about their whakapapa, and to be connected to their whānau and culture.

These promises are basic commitments which any good parent would strive to uphold to for their own children.

VOYCE - Whakarongo-Mai looks forward to working alongside the Government to support them in performing this important role as the state parent and guardian for children in care, and to support our Government in ensuring that every child and young person within state care lives with love and mana.

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