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Bill heralds start of major care and protection reforms

Hon Anne Tolley

Minister for Social Development

1 June 2016


Bill heralds start of major care and protection reforms

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says that a Bill introduced to Parliament today will enable the first stage of major state care reforms, announced in the complete overhaul of care and protection in New Zealand.

As part of the overhaul, a new child-centred operating model with a single point of accountability will be in place by the end of March 2017, focused on prevention, intensive intervention, care support services, transition support and preventing youth offending and reoffending.

“Budget 2016 invested $347.8 million for care and protection, including $200 million to support the transformation of the system to one which supports the long-term well-being of vulnerable young people all the way through to adulthood,” says Mrs Tolley.

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families (Advocacy, Workforce, and Age Settings) Amendment Bill introduces four key changes by:

· Extending the age of state care and protection to a young person’s 18th birthday.

· Ensuring the views of children and young people are taken into account as part of decision making at an individual level and in the development of services and policy.

· Supporting the establishment of an independent youth advocacy service.

· Enabling the broader range of professionals with specialist skills who will widen the expertise within the new model to perform some functions under the Act. Social workers would still be the main professionals responsible for carrying out these functions.

Work continues on offering some of kind of transition support to these young people up to the age of 25.

“The government is determined to make a difference in the lives of young people who come into contact with state care,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The Bill introduced today represents the first raft of legislative changes which will allow the state to deliver the protection and life opportunities that these vulnerable young New Zealanders need and deserve.”

ends

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