12 July 2012: News from CPAG
Poverty The Biggest Barrier To Children Thriving
Child Poverty Action Group has backed the call by UNICEF and other child advocates for an Action Plan for Children. The call comes as the government prepares its White Paper on vulnerable children, which CPAG and others fear will seek to cut some children’s and family services to target so-called vulnerable children.
CPAG says there needs to be a greater commitment to dealing with the poverty experienced by thousands of children. CPAG spokesperson Mike O’Brien said, “We have 30 years of research showing that the biggest risk factor for children is poverty. The White Paper needs to address poverty if there is to be genuine action to make children less vulnerable.”
There is no doubt maltreatment and neglect require attention but children are vulnerable for a range of reasons and their circumstances can change, making them more or less vulnerable at different times. Mike O’Brien said that since there is no way of predicting changes to a child’s circumstances, there must be greater investment in services for all children.
“The Green Paper signaled the government’s intention to cut some services to focus on vulnerable children. This is a false economy. Denying services to one group will simply create problems further down the track. There is no evidence any child or family is getting a service they don’t need and mounting evidence from community social agencies that many children and their families and whanau are missing out. The suggestion of moving funding to one group of children just leaves others more vulnerable and ultimately makes all children more vulnerable.”