Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has submitted yesterday recommendations for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy.
CPAG welcomes the coalition Government’s intention to embed a framework which "will set the direction for how to improve the wellbeing of children and young people in New Zealand". Such a strategy will be a significant development toward ensuring the rights of all children and young people in Aotearoa are reinforced and upheld.
"The current Government’s commitment to developing a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy provides a critical opportunity to embed in all New Zealand legislation the rights all children are entitled to under international agreements such as UNCROC. The strategy also provides an overarching framework for us to commit to improving the wellbeing of all Kiwi children," says CPAG Co-Convenor Alan Johnson.
CPAG is pleased to see that wellbeing for wider families and whānau is considered in the Proposed Outcomes Framework, and supports the 16 desired outcomes.
"Parental health and wellbeing, including material wellbeing, is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of their children," says Mr Johnson.
"It is critical that a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy should extend in scope beyond the important and immediate needs of children, and into the wider societal issues that impact on their wellbeing, and to include a plan to address better provision of safe, secure housing and the assurance of family income adequacy."
CPAG shares concern with the wider Child Wellbeing Network of organisations that there is no mention of the mechanisms that will be used to support the outcomes at implementation level, nor has there been a proposal for any framework for tracking and monitoring the success of the Child and Youth Wellbeing strategy over time. While it is commendable to set out an outcomes framework for a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, the levers for change need to be concretised.
CPAG supports the call by the wider Child Wellbeing Network of organisations for an additional ‘Enabling settings and processes’ layer to be added to the proposed outcomes framework, between the ‘principles’ layer and the ‘desired outcomes’ layer. This layer would include aspects such as:
1. Government Budget and investment
2. Government and community resources
3. Community-based capability and capacity
4. Partnership between Government and communities and community-based organisations
5. Legislation, policies and practices that promote and protect children’s rights
6. Cross-cutting policies (e.g. including data protection policies, privacy settings)
7. Child rights and wellbeing training (to support and enable implementation of the Strategy)
8. Mechanisms to enable children to participate in matters affecting them.
"Furthermore, the framework should include an overview of how progress will be tracked and monitored. Such progress should also be able to be seen by children and young people themselves," says Mr Johnson.
Visit CPAG’s website to read our full submission online.