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The Government’s "Vulnerable Children Result Action Plan" shows it is out of ideas and desperately trying to avoid the real issues facing parents and children.
“Not only are the targets the Government announced today a rehash of previously announced goals, they all reach beyond the 2014 election leaving Ministers virtually unaccountable,” says Jacinda Ardern, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson.
“Unfortunately this Government is focusing on intervention rather than prevention,” says Mayan Street.
“For example, the Health Minister is targeting rheumatic fever – and so he should, it is a preventable, poverty-related disease. But what is Tony Ryall’s solution? Taking throat swabs to test for the disease, rather than tackling its causes, such as poor-quality, over-crowded housing.
“That’s ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff. What’s worse, the moment swabbing is removed, all the evidence suggests there will be an explosion of rheumatic fever,” says Maryan Street.
In early childhood education a similar approach has been taken, with the Government asking schools to get children to report on their younger siblings who are not in Early Childhood Education.
“Identifying children who are not getting a pre-school education is not a bad idea. But what the Government should really do is address the barriers to participation, such as cost,” says Sue Moroney.
“Thousands of vulnerable kids around the country could benefit from quality early childhood education. But fees at ECE centres rose by 11% on average in the first quarter of 2011 alone, because National cut funding. That put ECE out of reach for many struggling families,” says Sue Moroney.
This Government must address the issues facing vulnerable children at the source. Until it does, initiatives such as the Vulnerable Children Result Action Plan will be little more than words and good intentions,” the MPs say.