Kids just want adults to take care of them
Parents should tuck their children into bed, make sure they don't eat too much junk food and remember to pick them up from school, a group of year 6 pupils say.
Their response was among the thousands of submissions received on the Government's Green Paper on vulnerable children. A summary of submissions was issued yesterday.
Among them was one from a class of 10-year-olds who said they wanted to "stop kids like us getting killed and hurt by their whanau".
Children had a right to live peacefully and be cared for, but they saw others who were not looked after properly every day, they said.
They had a list of actions they thought adults should take, including preparing healthy food, not leaving children alone, tucking them into bed and giving them enough time to sleep.
"Let them enjoy being a child - when they grow up they will have jobs," the group said.
One child asked to be kept free from violence, and another said: "Make sure young people are supported as well as their families. This is through ensuring they receive proper income, live in a safe and loving environment, as well as having a healthy, warm and safe living environment."
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said there had been a huge level of public debate about the paper.
"What got me is what kids were saying. It wasn't kids saying I want a PlayStation, or to have time off school; they were saying I'd like a washing machine, I'd like parents that have got a good job, I'd like you to help my family stay together.”
But Labour said the scope of the paper was too narrow and did not delve into the real problems.
The Green Paper zeroed in on mandatory reporting, monitoring and information sharing while ignoring poverty and inequality, Labour's Jacinda Ardern said.
Submitters were concerned that the narrow scope meant the subsequent White Paper would also fail to address the problems.
"Research shows that poverty and income inadequacy are key drivers of poor outcomes for children," said Ms Ardern, the party's social development and children spokeswoman.
Green Party children's spokeswoman Holly Walker said the summary of submissions revealed widespread concern about the need to address vulnerability.
"In order to grasp the opportunity to make real progress for children, the Government must address the root causes of vulnerability, such as poverty, inequality and poor housing."
15 Augut 2012