Massive changes to child protection and care

It has been obvious for years that Child Youth and Family was broken. Today the government announced massive changes including the a replacement agency for CYF.

Anne Tolley made the announcement:

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says Cabinet has agreed to major state care reforms and a complete overhaul of Child, Youth and Family to improve the long-term life outcomes for New Zealand’s most vulnerable population.

“The whole system needs to be transformed if we are to give these young people the protection and life opportunities they deserve,” says Mrs Tolley.

“After making a very clear case for change in its interim report, the expert panel advising me on the radical overhaul of CYF has delivered a final report with a bold set of recommendations for a new child-centred system which the government is taking action on. I want to thank Dame Paula Rebstock, the panel and its support team, and my youth advisory panel for their hard work and dedication.

“A new system will be in place by the end of March 2017 which will have high aspirations for all children and address their short and long-term wellbeing and support their transition into adulthood.

“It will focus on five core services – prevention, intensive intervention, care support services, transition support and a youth justice service aimed at preventing offending and reoffending.”   

The overhaul, which is expected to take up to five years to be fully implemented, will include:

  • A new child-centred operating model with a greater focus on harm and trauma prevention and early intervention. It will provide a single point of accountability for the long-term wellbeing of vulnerable children, with the voice of the child represented in planning and strategy. A social investment approach using actuarial valuations and evidence of what works will identify the best way of targeting early interventions, to ensure that vulnerable children receive the care and support they need, when they need it.
  • Direct purchasing of vital services such as health, education and counselling support to allow funding to follow the child, so that these young people can gain immediate access to assistance.
  • A stronger focus on reducing the over-representation of Maori young people in the system. Currently, 6 out of ten kids in care are Maori. Strategic partnerships will be developed with iwi groups and NGOs, and new ways of working effectively will be developed with qualified academics, social service providers, iwi and Whanau Ora.
  • Legislation will go through Parliament this year to raise the age of state care to a young person’s 18th birthday, with transition support being considered up to the age of 25. Cabinet has also agreed to investigate raising the youth justice age to include 17 year olds.
  • Legislation will establish an independent youth advocacy service to ensure that the voices of children and young people are heard in the design of systems and services.
  • Intensive targeted support for caregivers, including some increased financial assistance and better access to support services. For the first time, National Care Standards will be introduced so that there is a clear expectation for the standard and quality of care in placement homes.

“Today we are announcing our initial response to some of the panel’s 81 recommendations,” says Mrs Tolley.

“More decisions will follow after we carry out further work and receive additional advice.

“We have a fantastic opportunity to deliver lasting change for our vulnerable children and this is only the beginning.

Things had to change and it has become clear that tinkering wasn’t going to fix it.


– NZ Government


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  • Pluto

    Six out of 10 are Maori – no surprise there.
    So what are we going to hear from Maori “leadership” here ?
    Stand up and take responsibility or demand more welfare for the drop kick parents ?
    No amount of welfare will help if the kids arn’t the top family priority.

    • Ruahine

      So is Whanau Ora a waste of money as Winston said. Such is the scourge of MMP. Votes and money for troughing.

  • john Doe

    A start, but until it is acknowledged by Maori that six out of ten of the children that come to the immediate attention of CY&F are their own then little will change at the coalface. HAPU and IWI need to take direct ownership of this problem and stop blaming colonisation and the Government.

  • Wheninrome

    Bravo, long overdue, children cannot be cast adrift before they are ready. Some take longer than others. Children in “normal good” family situations have support all their life from their family, they are not cast adrift at a certain age and told to get on with it.
    I hope that this will go some way to supporting young people until they can stand on their own two feet and do not need to turn to “gangs” for their ongoing family support, that it gives them options and more choice in where they wish to head in life.

    • biscuit barrel

      Long overdue?
      So what was the self confessed Westie doing for 6 years before this. Was Paula not up to it?
      As usual it takes the under appreciated Anne Tolley to just get it all moving.

      Meanwhile Paula Bennett has been promoted and considers herself as leadership material. Good things happen when you are the apple of Bill Englishs eyes after his last apple Hekia didnt turn out so good.

  • Vlad

    The effort to make a better life for NZ children at risk will be a much better legacy for John Key than any flag.

    My only concern is that the necessary involvement of NGO’s means competition for funds. Sounds like a good thing, but leads them to overstate any problem to get the dollars, with media compliance.

    This is already happening in lots of areas.

  • sandalwood789

    All of this fine-sounding policy completely ignores the massive “elephant in the room” –
    many low-income parents are having **too many children in the first place**.
    Children that they can’t afford to look after and (in many cases) children that aren’t loved.
    Lindsay Mitchell’s blog has said this for a very long time (and I agree with her).

    Until the government takes action to put disincentives in place to discourage low-income people from having children, there is no way in the world that they can be seen as treating children seriously.

  • Muffin

    Its still just ambulance at the bottom of the hill until you stop paying people that shouldn’t have kids to breed at the top of the hill

  • Union Jack

    Load of corporate speak bollocks which in the end will transform into no change in the statistics and then prompt another review in 10 years or so and the whole thing will start again and suck up a whole lot more money.A PR consultant could have written that paper.

    • jcpry

      The simple thing is that what is in place now is not working. Continuing down the same path is not an options and a new approach is needed. will it work? We will have to wait for half a generation to find out but really I do hope it makes a difference as my children and my children’s children will be paying for the mess over and over again if it is not fixed.

      • Union Jack

        Yes the only thing which has not been said here is that the individuals CYPS deal with are the same people over and over again so is this really systems not working or just hopeless people who are too broken to ever change.Just a low level version of the prison system,the revolving door.

  • JEL51

    I liked the confrontational attitude that Anne Tolley had when Larry was discussing this on-air earlier.
    What was made glaringly obvious was the relationship of disfunctionality to beneficiary dependency.
    I am still of the mind that these poor kids would be better-off with the stability& shelter of an institution like an orphanage and released back to blood relations/whanau during weekends & holidays, so relationships where possible, could retain strings necessary to identity.
    Hoping to make the major changes by March 2017 seems ambitious but hope they can do it.

    • MaryLou

      I heard a bit on the radio today – unfortunately not all of it, about the need for people who have been through the foster system to have a loud voice and to be heard in this reform. IMO the right answer for these children is to be given the stability of a full adoption. They’ve generally been through enough – handing them off to other dysfunctional family members or to a good home short term, isn’t doing the right thing for the child. They deserve a stable, loving environment, with the option of seeing their natural parents when they come of age. I reckon by the time it comes to remove them, they’ve earned it.

  • Joe Banana

    So 60% are maori, Where in the name of social justice are the BILLIONS we have paid out for [redacted – mod] grievances under this Treaty of Waitangi,
    If these Psuedo Maori :there is no full blood maori in NZ: wish to push this poor me barrow let us cut them loose to achieve what ever is their destiny,
    Having control of the social welfare system will not be their silver bullet
    We the tax payer have had a GUTS FULL

    • Nige.

      [Mod] Please, no swearing.

  • Chris Bell

    Don’t agree at all with the Youth Court age going up to 17 – these kids get slapped with the proverbial bus ticket for another year and get to laugh in the face of the victims – big mistake – hold them accountable sooner rather than later