The Salvation Army has raised serious doubts about the Government’s much trumpeted achievements for children, revealing that public performance targets are more about making ministers look good, rather than keeping kids safe, the Green Party says.
The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report, released this morning, found there was “no way of knowing” whether child abuse was actually falling, despite Government claims that it had reduced. It found CYF (Child, Youth & Family) was “disregarding” some notifications entirely and that this was reflected in lower abuse findings.
“New Zealanders will be horrified to learn that CYF is ‘disregarding’ child abuse notifications possibly in order to make its numbers look better for ministers,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.
“The report found that the way CYF reported abuse meant there was ‘no way of knowing if the background level of abuse or neglect is falling, rising or staying the same’.
“The most vulnerable children in New Zealand need CYF’s focus to be on protecting them, not on meeting ministers’ targets.
“The Salvation Army was also critical of the Government’s practice of using a decline in the number of children in beneficiary households as proof that there are fewer children in poverty.
“The Salvation Army found that while the number of children in beneficiary homes had dropped by 25 percent, the numbers in poverty had stayed the same, leading it to conclude that there was only a ‘partial link’ between benefit dependency and poverty.
“This reveals the truth that the Government tries hard to avoid admitting – children living in poverty are increasingly living in homes where parents have a job.
“No amount of massaging of the numbers is going to make the truth go away – that this Government’s decisions are hurting those who need the most help,” Mrs Turei said.