7 October 2012
The Church added its voice to the growing number of agencies calling for better outcomes for young Kiwis by endorsing a declaration on vulnerable children.
The plight of vulnerable children in New Zealand was a cause for serious concern at the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly in Rotorua today, where the Church declared to commit more Church resources to training its leaders to identify children in need. The Church will also be taking active steps to offer greater support to those our churches work with who work with children.
“Our Church believes that our society can be judged by the treatment of its most vulnerable members. More than 200,000 children live in poverty in NZ with its debilitating effects on their health, nutrition, housing and education. We need to do better,” says the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, the Right Rev Ray Coster.
“All children have a right to develop spiritually, have an adequate standard of living, access to health care, education and a balanced diet. They have the right to be protected from abuse, neglect and discrimination. As a society, we’re failing to deliver these things for all Kiwi kids. As a Church we want to do more.”
“At a local level, our parishes around the country are very active working alongside underprivileged kids – everything from providing breakfast and lunches for school kids in low decile areas to providing after school programmes and working in schools with at-risk young people,” Ray says.
Today’s declaration strengthens the Presbyterian Church’s strong commitment and outreach to vulnerable children and their families.
The Church regularly advocates for vulnerable children to the government and main political parties alongside leaders from other denominations. The Presbyterian Church’s national Kids Friendly team helps its churches to effectively minister to children and families in their communities. The Church has also produced study resources for all its parishes and their communities on caring for children and preventing abuse, parenting, and the support available for grandparents raising grandchildren. The Church regularly speaks out in the media on the detrimental effect the recession is having on children from low income families.
“As a Church we will look for ways to advocate for the rights of young people at both a local and national level, and keep the plight of the nation’s children living in poverty in the public eye. We can only bring about meaningful change for this generation of Kiwis if we – families, government, and communities – work together,” Ray says.