Acting on the recommendations of the expert panel on child poverty will be critical if we are to raise more than a quarter million of Kiwi children out of poverty, says The Salvation Army.
After years of talk, The Salvation Army is relieved that a common sense and practical route has been developed that could finally address a shameful and costly social catastrophe, says head of Salvation Army Community Ministries Major Pam Waugh
Reintroducing the universal child payment for the first five years and longer for poor families, as well raising family tax credit to families with young or multiple children, would go a long way to solving the health, education and crime and punishment problems associated with poverty, she says.
Ensuring homes are warm and dry and early childhood education is affordable and accessible are other essential components, she says.
'To achieve the objective of alleviating childhood poverty, we believe a whole-of-government approach, that includes all relevant ministries and government agencies, is necessary. It’s not enough to provide funding – it is critical to be doggedly focused to ensure that assistance arrives where it is needed – in the homes of the poor.'
Major Waugh says the government’s welfare reform policies currently being rolled out, particularly those relating to domestic purpose beneficiaries, should be carefully aligned with the panel’s recommendations of helping single parents into employment. These include providing pre-employment and in-work training, job subsidies, and high-quality child care facilities.
Read 'Solutions to Child Poverty in New Zealand' from the Office of the Children's Commissioner