Paula Bennett was in Dunedin as part of her tour around the country romoting discussion on the Green Paper on Vulnerable Children.
Continuing problems with poverty and ensuring care reaches the “invisible” needy were highlighted in Dunedin yesterday during a discussion, initiated by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, focusing on a green paper about vulnerable children.
Ms Bennett said she was “absolutely astounded” by the extent and quality of feedback from the meeting.
About 50 people, many of them representing government-funded social service providers, attended a feedback meeting at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
Hopefully some good will come of the efforts people have made to contribute to the discussion.
Ms Bennett said considerable efforts were already being made to protect vulnerable children but the outcome, including some cases of severe abuse highlighted in the news media, was “simply not good enough”.
An intense meeting followed, running over its initially allocated 90-minute duration, participants having for part of the time broken into six groups to consider some key issues in detail.
Positive changes were needed but mandatory reporting and increased information sharing were sticking points for some.
More obviously needs to be done but it is a very complex issue and it’s difficult to avoid some negative impacts. We have to be careful but if anything should err on the side of child protection.
Submissions need to be made on the Green Paper by 28 February.