We have failed our disabled children: time for bold action

We have failed our disabled children: time for bold action

April 13, 2016

We welcome the independent expert panel’s review of Child Youth and Family and look forward to working alongside relevant agencies to realise the human rights of New Zealand children with disabilities.

Vulnerable to abuse, more likely to be in state care and often living in poverty: historically we have failed our disabled children and now it is time their voices are heard and answered.

We welcome the Government’s significant admission that the system is not meeting the needs of our disabled children and that systemic changes must be made.

The review is a bold statement and we need to match its findings with action, commitment, and collaboration.

The Commission is pleased to see the repeal of outdated legislation that discriminated unfairly against disabled children, and looks forward to looking more closely at the proposed changes to special education services.

We agree that the needs of disabled New Zealand children will not be met if we do not capture accurate, reliable data to help us understand the scale and nature of their needs.

International evidence suggests the majority of young people in youth justice systems have neuro-disabilities. We are yet to acknowledge and address this in our country.

We welcome a child centred approach to CYF that embodies both a data-driven social investment approach and fundamental principles enshrined in the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson

Paul Gibson became Commissioner with responsibilities for disability issues in 2011. 

Mr Gibson is a former president of the Disabled People’s Assembly and was involved in the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).

Mr Gibson is partially blind and uses Braille and assistive technology. Paul has twenty years of experience in the health and disability sector including working for Capital Coast District Health Board as a senior disability adviser.

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