The Green Paper for Vulnerable Children

Paula Bennett launched the first green paper in 14 years at Aotea Square this afternoon. By coincidence I was up in Auckland (for the Blair lunch tomorrow) so I popped along. Excellent speeches by Sir Peter Gluckman and Paula, plus some amazing singing and performances from various young musicians.

The only protesters were Penny Bright and the Men’s Rights brigade – five in total.

The Government poses solutions to complex issues facing children and then asks the public to consider the questions that are raised by those issues, including:

• When should adults who care for vulnerable children be prioritised for services over others?
• How can the Government encourage communities to take more responsibility for the wellbeing of their children?
• How much monitoring of vulnerable children should the Government allow?

“What it doesn’t do is tell people what to think. It is intentionally written in a way that lets people make up their own mind,” say Ms Bennett.

“This is a genuinely open consultation process, giving New Zealanders a chance to have a real say in how we protect our children,” says Ms Bennett.

There are many policy issues I care deeply about – tax rates, performance pay for teachers, youth minimum wage etc etc. But let me tell you that I’d trade them all for some measures which would reduce the level of in New Zealand. There is nothing worse than a young person not having a happy and productive childhood.

If it would make a difference, I’d happily have those caring for vulnerable children prioritised for services.

The Green Paper for Vulnerable Children can be found online at:

www.childrensactionplan.govt.nz

www.facebook.com/greenpaperonchildren

The actual green paper is directly here. It’s only 40 pages, and an easy read. For me one of the key questions is:

When should government agencies step in and intervene with families and whanau?

I think one there has been one major adverse incident, then the threshold for intervention should be relatively low.

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