KidsCan urges Kiwis to continue support despite slight drop in child poverty rate

The new 2017 Child Poverty Monitor reveals a one to two percent drop across the measures of child poverty in Aotearoa.

Responding to the report, KidsCan has expressed hope that Kiwis won't forget about child poverty as a significant issue in our country.

KidsCan CEO, Julie Chapman says, "While any drop in child poverty numbers should be celebrated it doesn't mean New Zealanders should sit back and say 'yes, job done'.

"We should certainly be proud. But the results are just reflecting the concerted effort by charities like ours, the Child Poverty Action Group and government, to remove the barriers keeping people in a cycle of dependence."

She confirmed that this year alone, KidsCan went from supporting 600 schools to 700, a new milestone for them.

This is an increase from 135,000 children to 168,000 who have access to KidsCan's programmes which provide the basics, including food at school, clothing and health items.

Chapman says there are still 2,590 children on the KidsCan waiting list, and 30,000 children a week are now being fed by KidsCan.

"It makes sense, if you're reaching more people, the numbers of those in need will go down.  It doesn't mean we as a country have solved the problem. In fact, I'm tremendously troubled by the extent of deprivation we're witnessing in the communities we support," explains Chapman.

She says, "In the 12 years of supporting children in need, this is as bad as I've seen.  We're now seeing families who have to share a towel between them, who share toothbrushes - one for the adults, one for the children. There is so little left over for necessities that parents are missing meals so their children don't go without.  Plus, more and more families can't afford basic hygiene items - no shampoo, no deodorant, no sanitary products."

KidsCan is challenging New Zealanders to help the 19 schools currently on their waiting list by giving donations to their charity.

For more details, check out their website