Last month the Minister of Social Development, Anne Tolley, announced that the next Children’s Commissioner would be New Zealand’s Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft. He will be replacing the outgoing commissioner Dr Russell Wills, when his five-year term ends in July.
Judge Beecroft is highly regarded in the community and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role.
He is also known for a refreshing directness – in a talk at Parliament a few years ago he emphasised the importance of fathers as role models for children: “Many have no adult male role model – 14, 15, and 16 year old boys seek out role models like ‘heat seeking missiles’. It’s either the leader of the Mongrel Mob or it’s a sports coach or its dad. But an overwhelming majority of boys who I see in the Youth Court have lost contact with their father…”
While Dr Wills has been able to remain as a practicing paediatrician during his tenure in the full-time role, Judge Becroft will resign from his position as Principal Youth Court Judge, and will be on secondment from his duties as a District Court judge.
The position of Commissioner for Children was first established under the Children Young Persons and Their Families’ Act in 1989. In 2003 it became an independent Crown entity operating under its own statute – the Children’s Commissioner Act. The role involves advocating for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people on law, policy and practice, as well as monitoring the services provided by Child, Youth and Family.
As an independent advocate for children, Commissioners have a great deal of freedom in how they operate. During his term in Office, Dr Wills has prioritised the highly politicised issue of child poverty.
Using claims that hundreds of thousands of children are now living in poverty, the Children’s Commissioner has led the call for greater government action. In his final Child Poverty Monitor, released in December, the Commissioner alleged that 305,000 New Zealand children now live in poverty – an increase of 45,000 over the last year.
But the numbers are not credible.
Since absolute poverty – defined by the World Bank as the number of people living on US$1.25 or less a day – has disappeared from developed countries like New Zealand, through rising living standards and the establishment of a universal welfare safety net, the concept of relative poverty is being used by social activists instead.
Relative poverty is a modern-day construct based on income distribution. People are considered to live in relative poverty if they earn less than a benchmark based on the median, or middle, wage. But there is a fundamental problem with the measure – for instance, if economic growth doubled everyone’s real incomes, the proportion of people said to be experiencing relative poverty would remain the same, even though they would have ample food and housing.
In New Zealand the relative poverty measure used by the Children’s Commissioner is based on 60 percent of the current median disposable household income after adjusting for housing costs.
It is this measure that generates the ridiculous allegation that 29 percent of New Zealand children now live in poverty – just below the 30 percent peak reached in 2010 at the height of the global financial crisis.
In this case, it turns out that the relative poverty measure increased, not because more families were less able to afford the necessities of life, but because their incomes were not rising as fast those of higher earning families. In other words, relative poverty increased, not because of mounting hardship, but because the income gap had widened.
What this means, of course, is that whenever higher incomes rise faster than lower incomes, anti-poverty activists will claim that poverty is increasing – even when levels of hardship are actually reducing.
The Children’s Commissioner’s Child Poverty Monitor, which essentially passes the blame for child poverty onto the Government, was not written for policy makers, but it was designed to persuade the public. The Commissioner said he wanted them to better understand the impact of poverty on children: “The better our collective understanding and the more support there is to invest in these kids, the more support governments will have to invest in these children. So that’s the change we want to see.”
In other words, the advocates pushing this cause believe that by exaggerating the extent of child poverty, and promoting it as an issue for the whole country, they will generate enough collective pressure to force the Government to increase fund in the areas they have identified.
But therein lies the problem. Instead of encouraging parents to be self-reliant and independent of the State – and foster a family environment in which their children can achieve their potential – the Commissioner and his associates are using dubious poverty measures to promote their argument that the Government and the community must accept the blame for any difficulties that they face.
Yet the responsibility for bringing up children rests with those who bring them into the world – and if prospective parents are not in a position to adequately provide children with the necessities of life then they should delay having them until they are ready.
And while money is certainly important, it is parents themselves, who have the greatest impact on children’s lives – not the Government, in spite of what these advocates say.
The reality is that the State is not and can never be a surrogate parent. It cannot provide the love, care, and nurturing that children need. Nor can it protect parents from the consequences of their own actions – as the $100,000 cost to taxpayers of keeping a homeless woman with 8 children in a motel for a year demonstrates only too clearly.
This mother of eight, who has been evicted from three State houses for methamphetamine use and barred by Housing New Zealand for a year, is now living in a motel. The Ministry for Social Development will end up paying the $100,000 in emergency accommodation costs until she can get back into another State house. While the mother has claimed she is not a meth user, she lost her judicial review of Housing New Zealand’s decision to evict her from her last home because of P use, and admitted using the drug in two other houses.
But her situation raises a number of serious questions – when beneficiaries are clearly unable to cope, shouldn’t they be required to seek help for their addictions? And shouldn’t they also be subjected to ‘income management’, whereby a third party manages their benefit, to ensure funds are available for food, rent and other essentials for the children? The Government already uses this scheme for teenage parents, so extending it to a homeless mother of 8 who uses meth, is surely common sense.
The Minister of Finance believes the Government has a responsibility to share the benefits of the growing economy – as he explained, ahead of the April 1 introduction of a raft of new measures to reduce hardship amongst families and children: benefit rates for 100,000 families were to be raised by $25 a week after tax; 200,000 working families were to receive increases in their Working for Families payments from $12.50 a week to $24.50 for those on very low incomes; paid parental leave was to increase by a further two weeks to 18 weeks, and be extended to more workers and primary caregivers; childcare assistance for 40,000 low-income families was to be increased, to reduce the barriers when moving from welfare to work; ACC levies were to fall by $232 million, with a further $218 million in reductions on 1 July, taking the total cut in annual levies to $2 billion since 2008; New Zealand Superannuation was to increase by 2.7 percent – up 34 percent since 2008; the adult minimum wage was to rise from $14.75 an hour to $15.25 an hour, and the starting out and training wage was to increase to $12.20 an hour – 80 percent of the adult minimum wage.
In addition, since the best way to assist children in families on welfare is through work, the Minister explained that more stringent work requirements were being introduced, that would require parents to be available for 20 hours of work a week, rather than 15, from when their youngest child turns three, instead of five.
When it comes to the characteristics of families living in hardship, as can be expected, there is an over-representation of households where adults have no formal educational qualifications and no jobs.
The good news is that the number of children in these benefit-dependent households continues to fall – to 180,000, the lowest proportion of children living on benefits since the late 1980s.
Teenage births – a long term source of persistent poverty – are also falling with only 19 births per 1,000, down from a peak of 69 per 1,000 in 1972. The Maori teenage rate, which peaked at 140 per 1,000 in 1966, is also declining and is now down to 47 per 1,000.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell, has long been following the debate about child poverty, noting that whenever advocates call for action, they never mention marriage:
“On the back of last month’s budget, opposition politicians, academics and other advocates once again expressed outrage at the incidence of child poverty in New Zealand. The culprits routinely blamed are unemployment, high housing costs and insufficient benefit payments. But there is another factor – probably the most important – that is constantly overlooked. That is the rapid change in family structure.
“In 1961 New Zealand experienced peak fertility. The average number of births per woman was 4.3. There were more babies born that year than ever before or ever since. Today mothers are having only two children on average; they are better educated; their employment rates are far higher than previously and they are having their children later. All of this should point to less child poverty.”
“During the 1960s, 95 percent of children were born to and supported by married couples. By 2015 that proportion had fallen to only 53%; for Maori, who have the highest child poverty rate, only 21% of children are born to married parents.
“The elephant in the room in the child poverty debate is family malformation – or a lack of two committed married parents. Yet, if there is to be any political will to solve child poverty the issue has to be confronted. To continue to clamour for government to do more is a cop-out. The evidence that marriage is the best protector against child poverty is overwhelming and incontrovertible.”
In his 1987 paper “The New War on Poverty” the renowned American scholar Michael Novak, outlined the three classic, institutional methods of escaping poverty:
- complete high school
- once an adult, get married and stay married (even if not on the first try)
- stay employed, even if at a wage and under conditions below one’s ultimate aim
He explained that history has shown that those who manage to perform these three quite elementary acts are very seldom counted amongst the persistently poor. Perhaps it’s time this advice was again promoted in New Zealand!
Once he starts his job, the new Children’s Commissioner will have an opportunity to change the priorities of the Office. Perhaps he will attempt to address the root causes of some of those heartbreaking issues that can cripple a child’s future – like the appalling rates of child abuse, the dismal education standards in some communities, the failure of some parents to seek adequate health care for their children, poor household budgeting, the lack of fathers as role models and the resulting vulnerability of young boys to being recruited by gangs… to name but a few. Such matters are surely far more important than leading the political anti-poverty bandwagon.
THIS WEEK’S POLL ASKS:
Do you believe the new Children’s Commissioner should change the priority of his Office away from child poverty – if so, what do you suggest his new priorities should be?
*Poll comments are posted below.
*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.
THIS WEEK’S POLL COMMENTS
|A summary of the priorities suggested by readers for the new Children’s Commissioner:
– Focus on the two parent family
– Improving parenting
– Child abuse
– Child poverty
– Family budgeting
– Birth control for low income family
|Planned parenthood. Getting parents to commit to their children and the other parent. Sterilsing neglectful or abusive parents.||Fiona|
|Family structure and the destruction of same is the main cause. There are other causes, sickness,, unemployment, but these can be dealt with. Multiple partners multiple children with no one taking responsibility for these relationships can not.||Dene|
|Remove children from inadequate families or parents.||Bruce|
|To family management.||Barry|
|If you cannot feed don’t breed. That basic fecund freedom/right should maybe be enforced for the feckless the stupid and the unmarried; would also serve to deny prisons a lot of their populace as well….||John|
|Tragic reality! Your site has brought to the surface most of the aspects that create poverty including the fact that to have child poverty there must be parent poverty. The breakdown in the religious ‘traditional’ family structure is the end result of political devaluation in the name of choice and the deduced decision that the family of a man and a woman no longer should be the cornerstone of society. A tragic misconception! We must isolate the fools and morons that we continue to elect and rebuilt value back into society instead of pulling down respect, responsibility, accountability, commitment and family values. In other words strengthen normal marriage in law, not destroy it! Immigration of Non-New Zealand/AUS Passport Holders must be brought to a halt whilst NZ residents live in Cars because of a policy made ‘Housing Crisis.’ The income from immigration is cancelled out by the increasing burden on services. Refugees cannot surely be invited into new housing whilst residents live in poverty in Cars? Free Trade must give way to FAIR TRADE in order that job creating production can re-commence in the regions. Forced Globalisation has brought actual development to a standstill. Without development there cannot be wealth, without wealth there is poverty. The Government is clearly undertaking policy to avoid facing the reality that we look into the abyss of social chaos that is waiting just around the corner!!!||Frederick|
|The child poverty index appears contrived and should be taken with a grain of salt.||Gregory|
|I hope Andrew Becroft has the strength to change the emphasis of raising children to two committed adults and not the govt., as well as boys needing their fathers as role models, so do girls.||Monica|
|Just like to say – I agree with all you said in the last paragraph of your newsletter Change has to come from within the `family’ not the government.||Elayne|
|Very well put in your editorial.||Alan|
|Involve the fathers in the upbringing of the children they father.||Ngaire|
|I believe the new Children’s Commissioner should focus on assisting struggling parents by encouraging networking among all community groups [Plunket,, Service Organisations, Nurse and Dr organisations Teachers etc]. Identify competent parents to promote and raise the bar on parenting standards. I am a business mentor and have also had dealings with Grandparents Raising Grandchildren who do a great job. All parents need mentors with whom they can discuss problems and solutions., Dr Russell Wills failed from my viewpoint with a wishy/washy approach. Hand wringing does not help! I think the Judge, with a more vigorous approach to problem solving and rattling the cages of the inept, is the right way to go. Lastly what are all our under-utilsed backbench MPs doing to help. We should have the collective nous & ability to solve all our problems. Wake up Parliament. Remember Gordon Dryden said all problems have been solved somewhere, we need to identify solutions from the successful [whereever they are] and implement then here. Lastly we need less committees and more urgent action.||David|
|Should be more involved in child abuse.||Richard&Wendy|
|Scholarships to education would be a start.||Dennis|
|A far better goal would be to ensure that no person or family brought a child into the world that he/she/they could not support until adulthood.||Alan|
|Unfortunately, “child poverty” has become the cause du jour – if for no other reason than that it shifts the responsibility for making things change for the better, from the family (or, particularly, the parent(s)) to the state. It’s an emotive cudgel with which the collective hand-wringers of the left can beat those who support the notions of self-reliance and commitment when it comes to raising children. Fashions in social policy come and go, but I can’t see Becroft as being the person to bring about the fundamental paradigm shift necessary to address the problem of child neglect more constructively, even though he’s a straight talker: the political will on the part of this government isn’t there, whilst the resistance from the opposition (both party political and otherwise) mostly certainly is.||Graham|
|I do believe that the problem is social or mal–functioning families. OR disfunctional families.||David|
|If a mother is unable or unwilling to name the father of her child she should not be eligible for Government assistance.||Janet|
|A stable family life is of the utmost importance to the success of children. Marriage is optional. Mum and dad must stay together to bring up their progeny!||Chris|
|As to what his priorities should be , I would leave it up to him.He has a proven record in the courts of a profound understanding of the problems facing both children and the family structure in NZ.He will be aware of the competing pressures from the “poverty advocates”and I am sure will be fully informed by sage advice contained in Lindsay Mitchell’s studies.||John|
|If one cannot afford to look after numerous children properly, then do not have so many and end up putting the burden onto the tax payer, so educating the people in this catergory , to not breed more than they can afford , would be a good step forward , and only pay for one child for a very limited time.||Roy|
|Two parent family and pay stay at home mothers.||Dianne|
|More social responsibility by the parents.||Peter|
|Prevent no hopers from having children. HaHa.||David|
|Hold parents responsible for the children they produce. Parents must be made to pay for lack of care and responsibility.||Peter|
|He should focus on improving better parenting.||Bernard|
|The problem at hand is systemic and has its roots in the introduction of the DPB .This in turn encouraged people to have more children than they could afford to have. Over time this basic system has bloomed into a plethora of Government Departments and Commissions keeping a lot of people busy all the time to superficially manage a growing number of utterly dysfunctional members of society. A perfect feeding ground for a large number of burocrats.. This so called child poverty is a term which has sprung up suddenly a few years ago and was created by a bunch of spinsters using this as a political tool for their own ends.( mainly Green Party spinsters) And sure enough the Maori Party under Turia jumped on that opportunity to turn this into another money extraction tool. Where does all the treaty settlement money go.? There are no covenants made by the Government to force the recipients of these vast amounts of money to take responsibility and take care of the problems connected with this uncontrolled and irresponsible breeding . NO –it ends up in the hands of a few privileged chiefs who give a damn about their own people. So much for Maoridom!!!! Instead we are forced to pump more money into questionable outfits like Whanau Ora whose performance records are more than suspicious. This whole affair is a mess which can only be brought to an end by cutting funds radically and force control and accountancy for the money handed out. And if these recipients of tax payers money fail to properly account for every cent at the end of every business year they should be dismissed and held liable personally.Measures like that will help to put an end to this gigantic graft.||Michael|
|He will certainly be more objective and, hopefully, will ensure that relative poverty is clearly seen to be vastly different from the total abject poverty that the outgoing commissioner and his supporters want us to believe is the case in NZ. The outgoing commissioner has succeeded only in increasing public antagonism through his abject approach. Unfortunately this makes Mr Becroft’s job more difficult as he has to undo the harm already done before he can start to make a difference, but he will, I am sure.||Alan|
|Reducing physical abuse within families. Making sure parents have permanent jobs,Ensuring children complete their education. Ensuring families have good permanent accommodation that they can afford.||Rog|
|Stop the people who breed children without the having the resources to to do so.||Robert|
|Close department & get out of peoples lives.||Ranald|
|Child poverty is a buzz word for Polynesian people. It plans to move blame for poor child raising from parents to government. Emphasis should move to families accepting responsibility for the children they rear. Children are not pawns and adults should stop using them this way.||Peter|
|I think he needs to broaden his Priorities to extend the Budget Management of a wider group of people receiving Benefits. The Benefits would then hopefully be used to support families not go for drugs or Alcohol or the latest cars||Laurel|
|He should recognise the importance of two committed marked parents in raising children.||Allan|
|Promote the idea of husband and wife two parent families committed to building a functioning family as a common goal as part of civil society.||Albert|
|Child poverty exists and must be dealt with. If the government is prepared to use $20 billion of taxpayers money on weapons, the some funds must be allocated to the welfare of the most vulnerable.||Graham|
|There us no REAL poverty in NZ., only miss manged spending. See South Africa and South America for REAL poverty.||Leon|
|When Gvt talks child poverty they consider Maoris. I live a few doors from a dairy and all day every day Maori males walk past my door to shop there during working hours. Why are they not working? The restructuring of the workforce act prioritises Maoris first in employment and thousands of workers were given instant dismissal country-wide so Maoris could be handed their jobs. Helen Clark said after this acts inception, “There is no need for any Maori to be unemployed”. So why are they not working. Yes I have sympathy for the disabled, they are the ones who need help on a non-racial basis. Look after them, they need it.||George|
|Concentration must be on parenting by both parents and sensibly limiting family size. Expenditure oversight for beneficiaries would help.||Arthur|
|Family unity and child discipline.||Hilary|
|The Commissioner should look at parenting issues such as unemployment, attitudes towards education, stable marriage relationships, family structure and attitudes etc.||Kevin|
|Keep parents out of the pub and away from TAB and Lotto. Close down that outfit under the Sky tower. Teach those parents how to be a parent.||Johan|
|Energy should be put into making parents take responsibility for their actions, not the government (tax payers) to subsidise their chosen lifestyle that they can’t afford.||Bob|
|It has been said for years that a stable economy is dependent on stable families where there is a Dad and a Mum in a married relationship. All the evidence has always pointed to this, and still points to this. The majority of financial support must be now directed to those who are prepared to take responsibility for their families by providing a stable caring and loving environment. And maori continue to say they are hard done by? Get a life and responsible is what I say to them.||Neil|
|Surely the Commission should prioritise all children issues not just one group.||George|
|There is no such thing as child poverty – a made up term by leftist trouble makers. The real poverty is in paterntal responsibility and father failures and the influence of drugs booze and alcohol and smoking. Benefits should be abolished and food stamps and rental vouchers provided direct to land lords to avoid misspending state . These folk should not be trusted with cash /money. They are like selfish children – they can’t be trusted.||Tom|
|Depends on how one defines priority. The focus should be on creating responsible family- mum dad and kids. Parents should focus on their kids, not grow drugs in houses and then they wouldn’t be kicked out.||Laura|
|Because it is something that is ill defined. Better he spends his time investigating child abuse, child neglect (including how the Government actively contribute to this), improving education outcomes for New Zealand born children [of NZ born parents], improving parental involvement by VALUING the work a parent does either in paid work or in the home and generally being a TRUE advocate for children.||Mark|
|“Child poverty” seems to me to be simply an emotive socialist media/political term used like “crying wolf”.||Stuart|
|There needs to be a return to a married couple concept where children can grow up in a stable home with a father and mother. Mothers need to be there for there children all the time. It is far better for a child to know love rather than material things. We have a generation of angry young people through the lack of a father figure in there life there own father not some boy friend that comes on the seen our society is in taters.||Russell|
|Promote stable family life and discourage politicising of the issue to produce irrational claims.||Catherine|
|The priority of his office should not be changed. However, the line of attack should be changed dramatically. Governments have invaded our private lives to the extent that those in the lower socio-economic category, now rely totally on the State, to take care of all of their problems. Gone are the days when personal responsibility has any part to play in the lives of those who care not about the outcome of a few minutes pleasure. Unwanted pregnancy results, & the name of the father cannot even be remembered when the child is born. I won’t hold my breath, but until the Socialists stop giving to those who don’t deserve, just to gain votes, & the education system moves away from indoctrination, & returns to education, including old fashioned family values, nothing will change greatly.||A.G.R.|
|Protection of marriage and families.||Denis|
|Emphasis must be on responsible parenting and responsible pre-marriage sex.||Eric|
|Should look at how to steer NZ back to good stable marriage.||Don|
|Emphasis on parent[s] involvment in financiai responsibility for childrens welfare, or money management procedures become compulsory.||William|
|Find the root cause of child poverty and start there. It is probably education of the parents; teach them to care for, love, nurture and nourish their children.||Diana|
|More emphasis on family budgeting and making fathers more responsible. Stop benefits to single women where they will not name the father.||Peter|
|Education and family support are the keys to to the future for all children.||Frank|
|While I am certain the new commissioner will, from his background, be well aware of the real causes of so-called child poverty there is probably a serious likelihood of his being taken over by department officers prattling this doctrinaire distortion of fact.||Rob|
|Since each super annuitant is getting only 33% of the average wage and the amount required to live above the poverty line is 60% we can see that all old age pensioners are trapped in abject poverty. I pay no attention to any official government or academic statistic. They are pathetic attempts to mislead the public.||Phil|
|Change it to child abuse and killing.||Graeme|
|The new commissioner sounds like a very good man for the job not like his bleeding heart predecessor. Over the last 43 years well intentioned government policies have stuffed the traditional 2 parent married couple. All these highly educated do gooders and these request for more and more government help need their collective heads banged together so it hurts.||Colin|
|Common sense another problem that is unfortunately aimed in a particular direction.||Lance|
|Time he switched the responsibility back onto parents rather than the state and discouraged those that cannot support children responsibly from conceiving in the first place.||Geoff|
|Concentrate on abuse.||Alexander|
|Needs to concentrate on birth control for low income people.||Chris|
|Muriel’s article was as usual well considered. The glaringly obvious that know one is willing to talk about is the unsuitability of the newer generations coming through to take responsibility for their actions. This attitude stems from the new technologies in place that ‘entertain’ people to the detriment of them continuing their necessary life skills. While politicians continue meddling, what should be a new subject, an ethics course in schools is ignored, and huge amounts of money subsidizing failed abortions to breed without consequences, continues without end. Violence, indifference, a lack of sense of worth and belonging and crime will continue unabated. All around us we see a very unsuitable class producing offspring that are neither wanted nor cared for and society is expected by bleeding heart liberals and the left to look after them. We need to take a large step backwards from this attitude and tell these people that this is simply not acceptable.||Charles|
|PARENTAL RESPONSIBILY The current attitudes prevailing in this country , that he Government will provide everything from a wake-up call to a bedtime story, have got to go. Please, those who are old enough, look back to the post-war households when fathers maybe didn’t come home from the battles, and solo mothers somehow managed to raise healthy children who could learn to learn, and who have grown up to be the grandparents of today. And on the way they have been the backbone of New Zealand. Where have we gone wrong in the interim?||Mable|
|It’s not child poverty, it’s child neglect. Judge Andrew Becroft sounds the ideal person to get to the root cause of child abuse. Let’s hope he stands firm against those who will try to steer him down a child poverty line then hopefully he will actually achieve something.||Helen|
|It’s only a political ploy for the do gooders…||Ian|
|Help prevent the MSM from promoting their excesses and from publishing just half of the ‘facts’ that leave a certain impression that appears often unrelated to the truth of the matter.||Roger|
|Child Poverty is an issue for the Parents, not the government||Pierre|
|The priority should be child abuse of all forms and illegal drug use including cannabis by parents.||Chuck|
|What is child poverty? A child without Lego? Bad parenting?||Les|
|Educate the parents of their responsibilities.||Jim|
|I agree that parental responsibility should be promoted first and foremost – but that the Govt safety net should be available to those who at least attempt to help themselves.||Isabel|
|I smile when I hear the comment that we can’t pay good wages to working Dads, when we pay excessive salaries and bonuses to CEO and management teams. close the gap, half their incomes. Increase workers incomes and don’t over tax low income workers. GST is enough to pay.||Hugh|
|Maybe parents are the poverty builders in a child’s life and should be required to do something about themselves instead of placing a hand out for more money and not using it to the betterment of the child.||Elizabeth|
|Tackle the issue of single parents instead.||Mark|
|Child poverty exaggerated.||Edward|
|We need an emphasis on the unit family of old. Mother and father married with a stable income from a reputable job and preferably the income would allow for one of the parents to be at home with the children up to school age and available befor and after school when all the children have reached that age. To achieve this there would need to be a shift in the work place productivity (to increase wages) and maybe greater ability to be able to work from home.||Ian|
|More emphasis must be placed of a secured family environment with a father and mother, higher education goals for youth and less focus on the government should be providing this and that.||Keith|
|To be honest I didn’t have much faith in Russell Wills. He seemed way to keen on ideology (especially when it came to domestic violence and child poverty) rather than solutions based on reality.||Ken|
|There must be a stable family life.||Irene|
|I think some charter type/boarding schools should be built for kids of inept parents. The parents can live in their cars or get a job because they won’t be entitled to a benefit. Their kids would be taken care of by a sort of state school/ organisation. The benefits I’m sure will more than cover costs. Something along the lines of Dilworth would be brilliant. We might end up with generations of healthy, educated children.||Chris|
|Yes away from poverty as it is presently measured. How about some compulsory budgeting advice so that food and shelter come before meth and booze etc.||Tim|
|Family violence preferably by going after the real causes without taking the soft option of blaming “child poverty”.||John|
|The overarching goal should be long-term independence. All plans and actions should support this goal in measurable ways.||Peter|
|There are many problems to be addressed as well as child poverty.||Terry|
|The previous Commissioner was a nice enough person, but he was taken over by the child poverty lobby. It is a real shame because it means that he essentially wasted the opportunity he had to make some meaningful change. Andrew Becroft should be excellent. He should make stopping crime against children his priority.||Jean|
|The Children’s Commissioner should make child abuse his priority.||Andrew|
|Child poverty has become a left wing political mantra. The new Commissioner is in a great position to outline some practices and procedures that could help make sure young people do not go down the pathway to crime or gangs.||John|
|Dysfunctional families should be Judge Beecroft’s priority. Those are the children he has seen in the Youth Court – surely he can help to get to the bottom of what can be done to change their life path.||Tom|
|No to child poverty and yes to uncovering the root cause of child abuse.||Leslie|