Children’s Commissioner backs charter
Tuesday 30 October 2007
Children’s Commissioner backs charter for children and young people in care
As a champion for the rights of every child and young person in New Zealand, Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro supports the charter for children and young people in care, launched by Child, Youth and Family (CYF) today.
“The development of this charter and its implementation plan shows Child, Youth and Family’s commitment to ensuring that children and young peoples’ rights are promoted and protected while they are in care.
“My office has heard directly from children and young people in care that they want a pamphlet on their rights and they want to know who to talk with if they have concerns or complaints.
“Four young people spoke at the Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, hosted by my office in February last year (2006). When asked what children and young people in care need in order to blossom, they identified four important areas that required attention. These are: stigma, rights, resilience and stability.
“One of the speakers pointed out that the care system is there to protect them from others, not others from them.
“Being placed in care can be an extremely traumatic time for children and young people. I support them in their desire to have up-to-date information about their rights and about what to do if they are not happy with their situation. It is important that we listen when children and young people voice their opinions and that they can see the powerful effect they can have on policy and practice when they do.
“I believe it is important that all children and young people in New Zealand are aware that they have individual rights, as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC).
“I commend CYF on its implementation plan that allows for all children and young people to receive a copy of the charter as they come into care; for those already in care to have a meeting with their social worker to explain what the charter means to them; and for all caregivers to be made aware of the charter as well. I believe this process will be valuable in developing a relationship of trust that children and young people in care must have with their social worker.
“We are keen to see the charter work in tandem with a youth-friendly complaints process.
“We would also like to see the charter embodied in the legislation to give it even more strength to ensure children and young people in care enjoy good health, education, safety and adequate resources and opportunities to develop to their full potential.”