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A Members’ Bill to help improve the financial security of children in foster care has been lodged by Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker.

The KiwiSaver (Foster Parent Opting in for Children in their Care) Amendment Bill will make it possible for any foster parent to open a KiwiSaver account for a foster child in their care.

“Foster children are among the most vulnerable children in New Zealand and foster parents go through significant barriers to establish suitability for care,” Mr Walker says.

“There are many foster parents who want to provide the best possible future for the children in their care, even if they never achieve legal guardianship. That includes ensuring that their foster child has some financial security.

“At present, the only way for a foster parent to open a KiwiSaver account is by application to their allocated social worker and it relies on a complex process within a bureaucratic framework.

“My Bill will make it possible for any foster parent who has proof of their foster responsibility to directly approach a KiwiSaver provider to open an account for a foster child in their care.”

Mr Walker says the passage of his Bill would add to the work National undertook during its time in Government to improve the lives of New Zealand’s most vulnerable children.

A KiwiSaver account is the only financial instrument that no-one except the owner of the account itself can access. KiwiSaver has offered not to charge for the accounts of foster children until there is a significant sum in the account.

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