“The Government’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, which was released yesterday, is an extremely positive step towards improving the lives of tamariki in New Zealand,” says Professor Wayne Cutfield, A Better Start National Science Challenge Director.

“We welcome the approach the Strategy has taken, as it closely aligns with the A Better Start’s vision that children and young people are taonga, and every child should have the best start in life. Their wellbeing is a priority for all of us,” he says.

“Our submission to the draft Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy reflected our view that it is imperative that the Government implements policies to improve child wellbeing in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life,” Professor Cutfield says.

The future of our country depends on investing in our children’s health, education and wellbeing. A Better Start’s three key themes – Healthy Weight, Resilient Teens and Successful Learning – support the wellbeing strategy’s focus of improving child wellbeing and supporting mental health.

“Our team of researchers are creating the tools and methods to predict, prevent and intervene early, so that children have a healthy weight, are successful learners, and teenagers can access the tools they need to look after their mental health. These themes closely mirror the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy’s key priorities that will make real improvements to the lives of New Zealanders.”

“It is extremely important that all policies and practices developed from the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy include evidence-based interventions, and that there are methods to measure whether the policies are working. A Better Start can play an important role here as we have roles that scientists such as the research teams in the Challenge can contribute to,” says Professor Cutfield.

The future of our country depends on investing in our children’s health, education and wellbeing, to ensure that we have a successful New Zealand.

Read the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy here.