27 July 2011

Help the ‘whole’ family, not just children

The Families Commission believes any Children’s Action Plan must recognise that children are part of their family, whānau, hapu and iwi. To help New Zealand’s most vulnerable children we have to help the whole family.

“Our research on families shows that concentrating efforts on improving the outcomes for vulnerable children is not enough, we need to look at what makes the whole family succeed to unlock possible solutions”, says Paul Curry, Chief Executive of the Families Commission.

The Green Paper for Vulnerable Children released in Auckland today by Minister Bennett is a nationwide discussion and consultation document. The paper poses challenging questions about how the government can improve policies and services in New Zealand so that every child thrives, belongs and achieves.

“One of the biggest challenges we face as a country is how to allocate funding for family support during times of fiscal constraint. Are we willing to give up anything, or disestablish programmes, to make a difference? Potentially every New Zealander could be affected by this report, so it is important that every New Zealander participates” says Mr Curry.

The Families Commission is urging that the Green Paper is viewed as an opportunity for all New Zealanders to work together to find a non-partisan solution.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the voices of all communities, families, whānau, hapū and iwi to be heard. New Zealanders should see this as a chance to speak up and make real change for children and their families. Solutions don’t happen over night or within a three year cycle. What we need is long term commitment from all political parties to put children and families at the centre of decision making,” says Mr Curry.