Building Blocks for improving the wellbeing of children

The Children’s Convention Monitoring Group has released a report called Getting It Right: Building Blocks that details where progress is being made and suggests future action.

Key recommendations:

  • taking children and their views into account when new policies are developed
  • supporting children’s participation in decisions that affect them
  • ensuring children’s privacy and best interests are considered when collecting their information
  • using the Children’s Convention to develop a plan for children and their wellbeing.

So I guess this report was a pre-plan. This sounds quite vague feel-good stuff.

NZH: Children’s Convention Monitoring Group releases report to better child wellbeing

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft said the Government promised 25 years ago to do better for all children when it signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Now New Zealand needed to walk towards that goal.

The convention is a human rights treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children.

Becroft described past work on child wellbeing as “ad hoc” and this report offered a coherent plan.

“If we’re going to mean business to do better for New Zealand children then this report says we have to put in place some key building blocks to get there.

“These are foundations. If they are not in place welfare is not going to make any real progress … We’re better than this.

“We can do so much better for our children.”

We (New Zealand) should be striving to do better for our children. Most parents and families already strive to do the best they can for their children.

There are 1.1 million children and young people under 18 years old in Aotearoa. Around 20 per cent are not doing well and 10 per cent are really struggling with issues ranging from abuse and neglect, material deprivation and poor health to difficulties learning at school.

In 2016 the United Nations gave New Zealand 47 urgent recommendations to improve child wellbeing, including addressing negative outcomes for Māori and Pasifika children, reducing high rates of violence, abuse and neglect. This report would address that, Becroft said.

Problems of violence, abuse and neglect are adult problems, with children being the victims.

“Recent initiatives such as the Child Poverty Reduction Bill and the proposed Child Wellbeing Strategy are positive steps towards improving the lives of children in New Zealand.

“We need to ensure these are not one-off actions.

Minister for Children Tracey Martin said they were broadly supportive of the report and would assess the viability of the recommendations.

“The Ministry of Social Development is already working on key recommendations including co-ordination, training and tools, children’s participation and raising awareness. MSD will deliver an online Child Impact Assessment tool in the near future.

“NZ is committed to major progress on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Voyce Whakarongo Mai chief executive Dr Ainsleigh Cribb-Su’a expressed excitement over the report.

“It explicitly implores the Government to mandate the incorporation of a child impact analyses on all legislation and policy development processes.

“Seeking out children’s views on service design is essential. It is their future that we are designing, let’s incorporate their views in all that we develop.”

I get a feeling this is largely high level academic type paper pushing. I’m sure some good can come out of it, but there needs to be real life improvements more than ideals on paper.

“Seeking out children’s views on service design” may be essential, but how many kids in deprived living conditions with violent or addicted parents are going to give a toss about “service design’. That just want to feel safe and loved – and this report seems to be way above this basic level of care.

Kids living in bad situations  need help and support, and I feel that fancy words and human rights are way over the top of that, trying to make a few adults feel good about doing something.

Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  11th April 2018

    Where is the plan? Actions, costs, kpi?

  2. alloytoo

     /  11th April 2018

    There are some perpetually conflicting issues here.

    Childhood trauma leads to poor life outcomes, shorter lifespan, poorer job prospects, greater chance of imprisonment etc. There are a number of contributing factors which lead to such trauma, that CAN include poverty, however the poverty in these instances is aggravated by other social circumstances.

    Simply addressing poverty isn’t going to solve many of these social issues. “Trickle down welfare” doesn’t work, Poverty itself is better addressed through education and opportunity which create socio-economic mobility, untargeted large scale redistributive efforts come at a cost, become a drag on the economy and ultimately are ineffectual.

    What social agencies need to do is identity, access and address the key risks that could lead to social trauma in a targeted evidenced based approach.

    To do this our attitudes on a number of things need to change, the welfare of the child is paramount and in order to effect the welfare of the child in an evidenced based approach will need to trump privacy and cultural considerations.

  3. David

     /  11th April 2018

    “taking children and their views into account when new policies are developed
    supporting children’s participation in decisions that affect them”

    Awesome. Let’s get kids to create NZ’s immigration policy.

    • Blazer

       /  12th April 2018

      could do no worse…they may as well have a crack at…health spending…too.

  4. Traveller

     /  12th April 2018

    For the vast majority of people, children, from the minute they’re conceived, are regarded as the most important focus of a family. Everything we do considers the needs of the child and their future is paramount. Their needs come before our own and we actively pursue options to advance that.

    The problem in our society lies with those who do not hold that the sanctity, the safety, the future of children is important, or if they do have some inkling they have neither the skills or means to provide them. Subject to inter generational deprivation, attributable in the main to unaddressed violence, multigenerational drug and alcohol addiction, restricted education, teen and solo parenting the cycle continues, the progeny end up in jail and/or repeating the same pattern.

    Good luck with altering that.

  5. Blazer

     /  12th April 2018

    Children need to be schooled on how the real world actually works.
    From birth, they are subjected to relentless cons,the tooth fairy,the easter bunny,and so on and bombarded with brand advertising,encouraged into want,want,consumerism,status anxiety and told to tell the truth,be honest and work hard.
    When the reality ,the hypocrisy dawns on them they either reject the ‘american dream or embrace it.
    Unfortunately they are not taught how the world really works…who has influence,where money comes from and what makes it worth something.
    They soon realise it is what defines them and their family and if they think they do not have enough, the options are to work hard for it ,steal it,or marry it.,
    Learning about compound interest,real estate and negotiation at an early age can help them on the journey of trusting,optimistic enthusiasm graduating to selfish, cynicism and acceptance of the hamster in the wheel life before them.
    The entrenched wealthy have the luxury of financial means to avoid the day to day struggle the hoi polloi have to make a living,pay the rent and wonder what its all about.
    The status quo is great for the top 10% and serfdom for…the rest.
    I always think of Susan Bradford…a militant,principled advocate for the underclass,with the pragmatism to understand the best chance for a child to ‘make it’ is to send it to a private school with a good reputation.
    A mind of your own,the greatest gift of all,but one that upsets the system which must win the hearts and minds of the …majority to be maintained.

    • admiralvonspee

       /  12th April 2018

      “Children need to be schooled…”

      …by whom…the state…or the parents?


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