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Thursday, 17 May 2018: Lifewise was one of a handful of social development agencies that were invited to attend the Prime Minister’s social sector Budget 2018 lock-up. Here, Moira Lawler, Lifewise CE, shares her thoughts:

“We are very pleased to see increased funding towards many services that Lifewise offers, for e.g. Housing First, Early Childhood Education, and Health & Disability Services. It is also very encouraging to note that this government’s focus is on addressing critical infrastructures such as schools and hospitals.

“We’re pleased to see a funding boost for Housing First. Our belief is that Housing First will need to grow in the future as an evidence-based approach to supporting people into permanent homes. We look forward to working with Ministry of Social Development on the cost-and-benefit analysis of this approach over time.

“More funding for making Early Childhood Education services more affordable means vulnerable families can receive the support they need to ensure a better future for tamariki – a better future for us all. Improved access to health for under-14s will remove one of the stressors that makes it hard for families to plan for a brighter future instead of struggling for survival. We hope the government also looks to addressing the social welfare framework so that children and families don’t have to live in poverty.

“We are also very pleased to see that the government has backed the pay equity and funded it sustainably for the future. Our generous caregivers and home care workers deserve it.

“While there is an immediate need for growing and supporting foster caregivers, we are impatient to see Oranga Tamariki take an innovative approach towards looking after vulnerable children – an approach that prevents them from going into state care and instead supports families in their own homes to look after their children. Let’s keep children, siblings and families together.”