Submission on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children
- While the opportunity for reflection on the wellbeing of children is welcomed, the Green Paper contains some serious flaws and oversights.
- All children can be vulnerable. Caritas is disappointed that the wider focus on an action plan for children has been narrowed to a focus on “vulnerable” children.
- The vulnerability of children increases in situations of poverty, disasters, illnesses, family changes and many other factors. The Green Paper appears to define vulnerability too narrowly as children at risk of serious abuse or violence.
- The Green Paper overemphasises the responsibilities of families and whānau for their children’s wellbeing, and does not pay enough attention to the government’s responsibility to provide the social and economic conditions which enable families and whānau to fulfil their responsibilities.
- The Green Paper is being developed in isolation from other areas of policy development, such as welfare changes, which are increasing children’s vulnerability.
- The Green Paper makes no reference to the wellbeing of children before birth.
- The Green Paper does not pay sufficient attention to children’s provision and participation rights.
- Increasing children’s wellbeing cannot be met from “reprioritising” existing spending alone. To ensure children’s wellbeing will probably require further public service expenditure.
- Caritas supports the principle of progressive universalism, which acknowledges that all children require some services, and some children require and deserve additional specialised help.
- We have significant concerns about the consultation process for this Green Paper – questions are not neutral, and the questions in the written document are different to those in the on-line survey.
- Caritas wishes to see that detailed analysis of the submissions made to this process is undertaken and made public, unlike the process followed by the Welfare Working Group.