Green Paper for Vulnerable Children 

28 February 2012 is the deadline for having your say on the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children (the Green Paper).

The Green Paper outlines some suggestions on how  to better protect abused, neglected and disadvantaged children - through leadership, policy changes and changes to how services are delivered. 

Anyone can have their say and it’s really easy to do so.

What should we do with it?
This is a chance for everyone in New Zealand to talk about the issues of child abuse, neglect and poverty - and what can be done to help our children thrive.

You can read the Green Paper, have a think about the ideas it presents and answer some or all of the questions (or give other feedback). Children and young people are also encouraged to submit their own ideas.

What exactly is the Green Paper?
The Green Paper is a discussion document containing ideas for improving the outcomes for vulnerable children. It recognises the importance of early intervention – tackling a problem as soon as it becomes obvious – and focuses on areas where action is most likely to be effective.  It contains a series of questions for you to think about and answer.

What is a vulnerable child?
Vulnerable children are those who, without significant support and intervention, will not thrive, belong or achieve.

Most children are vulnerable at some time in their lives e.g. when they are very young or entering adolescence. Children are most vulnerable when they have parents with alcohol, drug or mental health issues, or who are neglectful or abusive, especially when combined with family poverty.

Without extra support, vulnerable children are at risk of developing learning and behavioural difficulties, mental and physical health problems, and/or alcohol and drug dependency – potentially leading to poor education achievement, un-employability and a life of crime and imprisonment.

What sorts of questions does the paper ask?
The consultation questions are about:

  • How the Government could support parents and caregivers of vulnerable children
  • How communities could be encouraged to take responsibility for their children and support vulnerable children
  • If the Government develops Children’s Action Plan, what goals and actions could be included and who would be targeted
  • Whether the Children’s Action Plan should be supported by legislation and what would be in the legislation
  • How the Government can work in partnership with iwi, Maori organisations and their leaders to protect vulnerable tamariki and their whanau
  • How services for vulnerable children and their delivery and accessibility might be improved

That sounds like a lot of work
Well, it’s a really important issue. Even if you don’t have kids of your own, as a community we all need to take responsibility for the welfare of our children.

Besides, there are many ways you can contribute to the discussion, even if you don’t have a lot of time.

Ways to have your say
Everyone is encouraged to have their say – even children and young people

  • use one of the online surveys to: 
    • answer the 9 key consultation questions
    • answer all of the questions set out in the Green Paper
    • answer only the questions in a particular area of interest
  • post your ideas to Facebook
  •  send an email
  • follow Twitter
  • send your ideas by mail,  to:
        Green Paper for Vulnerable Children
        PO Box 1556
        Wellington 6140
  • download a form with the 9 key consultation questions,  and send the completed form in by Freepost (no envelope required)

And then what happens?
Once all of the submissions have been received and analysed, a White Paper will be released outlining the Vulnerable Children’s Action Plan based on the submissions.  This will explain what the Government proposes to do as a results of the submissions on the Green Paper.

Where can I get a copy of the Green Paper?
You can read it online or download the PDF in English, Samoan, Maori or Tongan.