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Supporting children and families during COVID-19

Graphic: A young boy walks a dog on a suburban street in Auckland

Monitoring current strategies to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on children and young people is essential.

Monitoring current strategies to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on children and young people is essential, Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero said.

An update released on 10 September 2020 on the first year of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy shows promising progress in addressing some issues to do with adversity.

For example, Ms Tesoriero said the extension of the nurses in school programme and Zero Fee General Practitioner medical visits for 13-year-olds would improve access to health services; and families would welcome the extension to lunch programmes and at least some increase in benefits.

It was also positive that most of the 623 new Learning Support Coordinator roles in schools had commenced.

"It's great to see some progress in tackling poverty but it's important to get to the root of systemic issues," Ms Tesoriero said.

Impacts from COVID-19 on already disadvantaged families were critical to identify, act on and measure. It was particularly important to show how disabled children and young people are affected.

"Issues specific to disabled children and young people need to be visible in monitoring," Ms Tesoriero said, who added she was pleased that the update recognised more work was needed in dealing with discrimination, racism and stigma.

Ms Tesoriero said disabled young people are already often locked out of employment due to discrimination and the COVID-19 downturn in employment may make this worse.

"Actions specific to improving disabled young people's job prospects like those mentioned in the recent Youth Plan are vital."

"I would also like to see future monitoring and reports show more clearly how the strategy is improving the lives of children and young people with neurodiversity and increasing support for parents of all disabled children, and also for disabled parents."

Date: 15 September 2020

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission


Image credits

  1. A young boy walks a dog on a suburban street in Auckland - APF