Child Poverty Action Group calls for improvements to help disabled children

By Wepiha Te Kanawa
  • Auckland

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has made 9 policy recommendations to improve services for the 95,000 disabled children aged 0-14 years in New Zealand.

In the report 'It shouldn't be this hard': children, poverty and disability, CPAG says children living with disabilities are often left out in discussions about policies that affect them and their rights and interests, and those of their care-givers, are overlooked.

CPAG Co-Convenor Alan Johnson says "Whether negotiating with government agencies, applying for education funding, or trying to get support from Work and Income, the process is often slow and difficult. Not surprisingly, parents often feel their children's needs are invisible."

Disability advocate, Colleen Brown says, "The real heroes in this country are the parents who struggle every day to get their children up, fed, clothed, accepted at school, resourced, and included in their community, while also doing all the other things expected of them at work and at home."

The report includes a review of support payments for parents to make sure the needs of their disabled children are prioritised over the parents' job-seeking and work preparation.