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Community discusses White Paper for Vulnerable Children

Scott Simpson
MP For Coromandel

26 November 2012

Community discusses White Paper for Vulnerable Children

Representatives from schools, childcare centres, Government and non-government agencies, churches and community groups gathered on Friday to discuss the most groundbreaking initiative for children ever undertaken in New Zealand.

The meeting took place in Paeroa War Memorial Hall where Coromandel MP Scott Simpson and his colleague Tim Macindoe, MP for Hamilton West presented information about the recently published White Paper for Vulnerable Children.

The paper is the result of 14 months of work including 10,000 submissions from people across New Zealand – over 2000 of them from children. It presents a new way of working with our most vulnerable children and targets resources, interventions and support to those children who are currently being abused or seriously neglected and those who are most at risk.

“This is one of the most impressive pieces of work I have seen produced by this Government,” said Mr Simpson.

“For so long our children have been failed by archaic and disjointed systems, with no communication between agencies and support services. To have a clear plan that breaks down all those barriers and puts children at the heart of the process is a massive breakthrough.”

As part of the Children’s Action Plan which is at the heart of the White Paper:
• New legislation will be introduced to make chief executives of Social Development, Health, Justice, Police, Housing and Te Puni Kokiri jointly accountable for achieving results for all vulnerable children.

• Regional Directors and Children’s Teams will be formed to co-ordinate individualised responses locally.

• A new Child Protect Line will be established to provide children with a first point of contact if they need someone to talk to.

• A Vulnerable Kid’s Information System will be put in place to allow all the agencies involved to track and monitor children at risk. This will include a comprehensive risk predictor tool developed alongside Auckland University to identify vulnerable children before they are abused and get them the help they need.

• Tough new restrictions for abusers through child abuse prevention orders will allow judges to stop child abusers from gaining access to children.

• Ongoing support to families who take in a child will be provided by non-government organisations.

• Review of Child, Youth and Family complaints process and parental leave provisions.

• Screening of people working directly with children will be established through a legislated vetting process and we will encourage social workers to register with the Social Workers Registration Board.

• Child protection orders could mean that another baby born into a potentially abusive environment is removed from that parent’s care

“These changes will affect every person in New Zealand but most specifically our children and those who work with them. For that reason I was delighted to see so many of our Coromandel agencies represented at the meeting.

“From hearing some of the comments and questions, it is clear that there is a real passion here for children’s welfare and a strong desire to see this White Paper deliver the major changes we want to see happening.”

ENDS

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