The Child Poverty Action Group says at-risk children are paying the price for the Government's rush to increase enrolments in early education.
In a report published on Thursday, the group says the Government needs to do more to raise the quality of early childhood education.
The report says the Government is too focused on raising participation, and should not be forcing beneficiaries to enrol their children in preschool education.
Instead, it should raise the minimum number of registered teachers required in each centre from 50 percent to 100 percent, and do more to ensure early childhood centres are aligned to the cultures of Maori and Pasifika families.
The report says the Government also needs to address a critical shortage of high quality early childhood centres in poorer areas.