Our future lies in all of us protecting vulnerable children
October 12 12:00 PM
AUTHOR: Robin Gunston
This week, at long last, the White Paper on Vulnerable Children was published. It will not be good enough if this considerable body of work is put on the shelf and forgotten. All of us need to read it.
Vulnerable children are children who are at significant risk of harm to their wellbeing now and into the future as a consequence of the environment in which they are being raised and, in some cases, due to their own complex needs. Environmental factors that influence child vulnerability include not having their basic emotional, physical, social, developmental and/or cultural needs met at home or in their wider community.
I have underlined this last aspect because of its extension to all of us who want to live in a better New Zealand.
Children are our only future- unless we wish to live in a sci-fi robotic world. Thus the nurture of these gifts to our families and communities is something we must learn to treasure, not just their family/whanau- ALL OF US.
Children will grow up to be the breadwinners when we can no longer work, to be those who take us to shop when we can no longer drive the car, to be those who wait on us and finally put us in the ground! It makes commonsense to treat them well.
TVONE showed us on Monday that tragic story of Nia Glassey- a real life horror story- one which took a lot to view. She was at the extreme end of those who were most vulnerable but the lesson was for everyone who wants to be a Kiwi in a new age of ensuring a better future for all children. What community members saw the first act of abuse against her and did nothing about it? That is no longer acceptable!
UnitedFuture was the party that introduced the "family" concept into NZ politics following the 2002 Election when as part of supply and confidence the Families Commission was brought into being. Since then "family" issues have become mainstream politics.
Family issues still form the centre of our policy mix- not just the nuclear family that existed in our dreams but that far wider family mix of a multicultural society, we are passionately behind any moves by all of us to ensure we turn the tide for those who cannot help themselves.
If all you do this year to help children, and our future is to read this report you will have made a wise choice! Well done.