KidsCan warns increasing need in high decile schools

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The CEO of the KidsCan charity that helps the country's most needy children says they're fielding an increase in calls for support from high decile schools. Julie Chapman says the high cost of living in Auckland is causing the spike.

Chapman provides the basic needs to children in low decile schools. But now that's changed.

“We've seen a bit of an increase in decile 5, 6 and 7 schools asking for support,” she said.

“So it's really that food, that clothing, those basic health and hygiene items.”

KidsCan have added nine more schools to its programme making a total of 718 deciles 1 to 4 schools across the country. The higher decile schools aren't officially on the books.

“I think that's a reflection of the high cost of living, rents and low-income people not necessarily being able to afford to make ends meet,” said Chapman.

“Those schools are in wealthy areas, those in well-paid jobs and homeowners,” said Te Wharekura o Manurewa Principal, Mahia Nathan.”

Waikato-Tainui were the first iwi to invest $100,000 toward KidsCan to schools across their tribal area, including South Auckland. Nathan says the government should foot the bill to assist schools in wealthy areas.

“KidsCan isn't the government,” he said "The government has all the funding and resources. They should sort this out.”

Despite the rise in need from higher decile schools, Chapman says the priority is still to help the country's most impoverished children.

“We always assure our current schools that we will never remove a programme from them,” she said.

Chapman suggests a peer-to-peer approach by high decile schools involving parents with resources to support students in need.

The KickStart programme that provides milk and weet-bix is available to all decile schools.