Peter Reynolds, chief executive officer of the Early Childhood Council
Wednesday 30 October 2013, 11:24AM
Statement from Peter Reynolds, chief executive officer of
the Early Childhood Council
In the "Un-Doctored" item by Associate Professor Mike O'Brien
Children of beneficiary parents losing ground under new welfare
reforms" (Wednesday 23rd October 2013) the claim is
made that "...early childhood educators are now accountable
for the compliance of parents in meeting compulsory attendance
This is not the case.
Firstly, quality early childhood education is concerned with the
care and development of pre school-aged children, not monitoring
the benefit compliance of parents. Teachers in childcare centres
are focussed on the needs of the child and have no mandate or
mechanism to identify or report benefit entitlement issues.
Secondly, while it is true that the government is pressing ahead
with the development of an on-line enrolment system for children
engaged in licensed childcare in New Zealand, both the Ministry of
Education and the Ministry of Social Development have repeatedly
stated there are no arrangements in place to exchange information
and no immediate plans to do so.
The early childhood education sector remains concerned that
changes to the Privacy Act allow for this sort of exchange to take
place in the future, and have recently written to the Privacy
Commissioner raising concerns about the risks associated with such
an exchange. The Commissioner is very much aware of
these concerns and responds stating that any information sharing
agreement requires her oversight and approval.
Finally, were this sort of activity to be entertained by
government, it would no doubt encounter an early childhood
education sector unwilling to provide information that could be
used for that purpose.
For your further information, the Early Childhood Council is a
membership body for independent early childhood centres. It's
membership is over 1,000 centres nationwide.
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