Source: Save the Children
Save the Children is appealing to the Government to better support intellectually disabled children and their families after a new report from IHC reveals the “grim reality” of the challenges and hardship faced by too many intellectually disabled children in New Zealand.
The report ‘From Data to Dignity: Health and Wellbeing Indictors for New Zealanders with Intellectual Disability’ – released today – shows one in five children with intellectual disabilities are living in overcrowded homes (vs 16% of general child population) or damp and mouldy homes (43% vs 36% of general child population) and in lower-income households (with an average equivalised disposable household income of $34,000, compared to the $40,600 average household income of children without intellectual disability).
The report also shows children with intellectual disabilities are more likely to live in the most deprived areas of the country than children without intellectual disabilities (24% vs 15%) and where the intellectually disabled child is Māori or Pasifika, this increases considerably to 44% Pasifika and 35% of Māori children living in the most deprived areas in New Zealand.
The child rights organisation is also deeply concerned by the report’s findings that intellectually disabled children are more than three times more likely to be victims of crime than children without an intellectual disability, twice as likely to have witnessed family violence, and seven times more likely to be placed into state care than children in the general population.
“Disabled children have the same rights as all children in New Zealand,” says Save the Children New Zealand Advocacy Director Jacqui Southey.
“We need to focus our resources and change our policy settings to ensure that they have adequate incomes, they are protected from harm and violence, live in healthy, affordable and accessible homes, have access to quality education and healthcare, and the means to participate in their communities.
“For too long there has been a lack of comprehensive data related to how intellectually disabled children and their whānau are impacted by poverty. This report reveals the grim reality of too many intellectually disabled children in New Zealand.”
Save the Children is calling for a substantive lift to the Child Disability Allowance that Ms Southey hopes will go some way towards alleviating the socioeconomic hardship facing families with intellectually disabled children.
“The findings in this report reveal deep and shocking levels of poverty faced by intellectually disabled children and their whānau, and just how challenging life is for intellectually disabled children living in households with incomes that are clearly inadequate.
“To lift intellectually disabled children out of poverty and significantly improve their experiences of life and the resources they can access, their household incomes need a substantial lift.”
About Save the Children NZ:
Save the Children works in 120 countries across the world. The organisation responds to emergencies and works with children and their communities to ensure they survive, learn and are protected.
Save the Children NZ currently supports international programmes in Fiji, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Laos, Nepal, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Areas of work include child protection, education and literacy, disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation, and alleviating child poverty.