New Zealand’s largest provider of services to support the health and development of children under five supports a report released today by the Every Child Counts coalition.*
The report had found that New Zealand has one of the lowest levels of public investment in young people, ranking 28 of 30 OECD nations for giving children a good start, based on measures such as overcrowding in homes and infant mortality.
Plunket CEO Jenny Prince, a member of the Every Child Counts steering group, says there is more that needs to be done to help our children grow, develop and achieve.
“Evidence shows that the first 3 years, or 1000 days, are critical in a child’s development. Deprivation during this time has been show to result in poor outcomes in adulthood.”
Mrs Prince says the report is part of a new child-focused campaign which aims to highlight the importance of adequate public and community investment in a child’s first few years of life.
“1000 days also equates to the length of each electoral term so the campaign is also about urging politicians to keep children’s needs in mind during their three-year term.
“This is about more than outcomes for children, it’s about an economic investment from the Government. This is an economic problem as well as a social one, and it’s not just an issue for politicians. The health and wellbeing of our under five’s is an issue for all New Zealanders. Focusing on giving our children the best start in life is vital in helping us create a better society.
“The Green Paper on Vulnerable Children and this report present a great opportunity for all New Zealanders to discuss what we, as a society, can do to improve life for our most vulnerable citizens.
“Evidence tells us there are no quick fixes. There are a complex range of contributing factors to the state of our children’s health and wellbeing. We need to concentrate effort on ensuring that families have the support they need to safely care for and raise New Zealand’s future generations.”
A companion report will be released on 2 September.