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Working closer to protect children

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development & Employment and Youth Affairs
15 August 2011

Working closer to protect children

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett joined Police, District Health Board and Ministry of Social Development representatives to sign a new agreement to strengthen child protection.

“A cross-government approach to child protection was a key recommendation of the Independent Experts Forum and this agreement is part of the Government’s continued work on those recommendations,” says Ms Bennett.

“Child welfare, law and order and health are key to child protection and this is reflected in Government programmes and initiatives,” says Ms Bennett.

Since 2008 the National-led Government has introduced a range of programmes and legislation across Child, Youth and Family, Police and Health to help nurture and protect this country’s most vulnerable children.

These include:

• Introducing social workers in hospitals nationwide to support staff caring for children at risk of abuse
• Multiagency safety plans for children who are admitted to hospital with a suspected non-accidental injury
• Extra Gateway Health Assessments for children in state care
• Development of the Child Protection Protocol between Police and CYF.
Minister of Health Tony Ryall and Minister for Police Judith Collins are strongly behind this agreement and pleased that a joint approach is being taken to help protect New Zealand children.

“A child whose life has been marred by abuse must be assured of a caring, professional and speedy response,” Ms Collins said.

“We all recognise that child abuse is a difficult problem that no one Government agency or organisation can tackle by itself.”

“It requires the expertise, the knowledge and the resources of a wide range of agencies, organisations and individuals to address,” says Ms Collins.

Health Minister Tony Ryall echoed these comments.

“Each of these agencies have been working to share knowledge about vulnerable children and their families for some time and this agreement reflects a determination to further this work, ” said Mr Ryall

Minister Bennett also emphasised the importance of wider public debate about the protection of vulnerable children.

“The Green Paper launched last month asks the public to consider how much monitoring of vulnerable children should the Government allow,” says Ms Bennett.


“Any monitoring requires a good deal of cross agency cooperation and information sharing and these existing relationships formalised today will play a big part in any future programmes,” says Ms Bennett.

ENDS

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