KidsCan meeting with Govt, 'hopeful' funding cut will be reversed

The AM Show 22/01/2018

Children's charity KidsCan has revealed its funding from the Government may be renewed after all, pending a meeting with Children's Minister Tracey Martin.

KidsCan founder Julie Chapman told The AM Show on Monday morning that she had been in touch with Oranga Tamariki last week, and is expecting she'll meet with Ms Martin in February.

"It hasn't been confirmed, but I'm hopeful," Ms Chapman said.

In December, Ms Chapman said she'd been told by the Ministry for Children funding for KidsCan may be cut.

The announcement of a meeting to renew its $350,000 funding boost comes after the charity revealed an increase of 64 percent in children requesting its assistance to pay for the basics compared to this time last year.

A whopping 2562 kids have requested help this year - 1000 more than January 2017 - in the form of shoes, raincoats, lunches and household items.

"We've seen households where the whole family shares a toothbrush and can't afford washing powder - we're seeing all these things that, 13 years ago, we would not have seen," she said.

"There will be children that won't start school in the first week, and those parents will really struggle to provide the stationery, the uniforms, let alone those basics that I talk about all the time like food and shoes.

"I have met these families, and I think the levels of stress we see in these families are incredible - and I want to start talking more about material hardship, because really that is the thing we need to be addressing."

Ms Chapman says the escalating cost of rent is undoubtedly a contributing factor. Last year, the national median rent rose 3.4 percent to a record-breaking $460 per week - Wellington the hardest-hit, with 71 percent fewer rentals than a year prior.

"I heard last week Trade Me saying there was a 49 percent drop in rental property listings - so that is going to have a flow-on effect to kids," Ms Chapman explained.

"As housing costs and rents start to bite, families are less able to provide those basics for children.

"I think any extra money delivered to families will be great, but I want people to know that for these types of families and children we support, that is not going to lift them out of poverty.

"That's why, for these 2562 children, we want to see more New Zealanders get in behind us."

You can find out more about how to support KidsCan by clicking here.

Watch the full interview with Julie Chapman above. 

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