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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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