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Cabinet paper and updates on development of MVCOT

September 08, 2017 at 8:52 AM

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

Minister for Children Anne Tolley has provided updates on the development and implementation of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (MVCOT).

Cabinet paper

Cabinet paper has been released which outlines progress on designing and implementing the new operating model for MVCOT in the three months after the Ministry was established on 1 April 2017. It is the first official release of information and notes that the key current challenge is "balancing the need for a fundamental and system wide transformation, with the requirement to deal with immediate issues and crisis management, and respond to legacy issues." (p.2)

Below, media releases from the Minister provide information on developments.

Feedback and complaints systems

Mrs Tolley says the Government is funding two new feedback and complaints systems within the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.

Mrs Tolley said:

"Budget 2017 invests $11.79 million to support the development and implementation of more effective, timely and child-centred feedback and complaints systems. The existing complaints processes and systems are no longer fit for purpose. Our Youth Advisory Panels told us that they are complex and not easily accessible or focused on children and young people. We need better systems in place so children and young people can easily share their concerns and provide feedback. We also want to more effectively resolve any concerns that are raised, and ensure that insights gained are used to improve how we support and care for young people."

Mrs Tolley said procurement process will begin shortly for a software system to capture complaints from children and young people and Ministry staff, enabling the Ministry to analyse data and improve how services are delivered. It is expected that the new system will be up and running in early to mid-2018.

The Ministry will also run a full trial of the UK developed ‘Mind of My Own’ app which enables young people to express their views and provide feedback on the services they receive.

In July 2017, Radio NZ reported "Figures released under the Official Information Act show formal complaints jumped from 512 in the year ending June 2012 - when it was called Child, Youth and Family - to 971 in the year ending June 2016. The number stood at 699 for the nine months to the end of March 2017."

Radio NZ reported that Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft said there was an urgent need for a clear, comprehensive complaints procedure. Both Judge Becroft and Law Society family law chair Michelle Duggan said an independent watchdog was needed.

Direct purchasing of services trial

Mrs Tolley also said a new trial will start for the direct purchasing and brokerage of services for children and young people in care or at risk of coming into care. She said if services designed to address the health, social, emotional, education and care needs identified for children are not available or cannot be accessed in a timely way, then the team will be able to purchase the service directly from the provider. The trial starts in Waitematā DHB and Bay of Plenty DHB, with a third DHB to be confirmed.

Supported living trial

Earlier, Mrs Tolley announced a new pilot which provides semi-independent accommodation and life skills for young people transitioning out of care. The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki is working in partnership with three providers in Auckland and Wellington to pilot the supported living arrangement for young people.

Handbook for caregivers

A new handbook for caregivers has been published, providing information on universal health and education services available to 0-18 year olds. The Hand in Hand Book aims to make it easier for caregivers to find the information they need to access services for children and young people in their care.

Mrs Tolley also said there are a number of initiatives underway to provide further targeted help to caregivers, including a new after-hours phoneline, peer support, targeted training, and more effective recruitment and retention strategies.

Related research and resources

Auckland University of Technology's Policy Observatory has published an independent reviews of the Government's child protection reforms. The report, The Child Youth and Family Review: A Commentary on Prevention (2017) was written by Dr Emily Keddell from the University of Otago. The report identifies eight points of tension in how the reforms address child abuse and neglect:

  • Inappropriate choice of comparison group
  • A framework of individualism
  • The balance of universal and targeted services
  • Over-reliance on market delivery
  • Measuring outcomes
  • The single point of accountability and information sharing
  • Resourcing and budgeting
  • The emphasis on child removal

A research project being lead by Dr Anne Scott from the University of Canterbury is looking at issues for parents with mental illness and/or addiction issues, including services' responses to parent anger.

Background information

See these previous NZFVC news stories:

UN Racial Discrimination Committee recommends inquiry into abuse in state care,September, 2017

Child protection reform bill passes into law, July 2017

Child protection reform bill has second reading, Select Committee reports, July 2017

Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki launched 1 April 2017, April 2017


Seen and not heard, Newshub, 02.09.2017

New youth offending prevention programme launches in Huntly, Stuff, 29.08.2017

Social workers quit ahead of Oranga Tamariki launch, Radio NZ, 17.08.2017

Call for independent watchdog needed to protect children in care, Radio NZ, 04.08.2017

More than 40 staff quit Te Puna Wai youth justice facility in two years, Stuff, 04.08.2017

From Nia Glassie to Moko Rangitoheriri: Why are we still killing our kids?, NZ Herald, 29.07.2017

Call for children's ministry watchdog as complaints rise, Radio NZ, 26.07.2017

Child protection and why we must understand parent anger too, Radio NZ, 13.07.2017

Ministry of Vulnerable Children addresses failings of CYF, Newshub, 09.07.201

An Independent Inquiry is Needed: Right Here!  Right Now!, Opinion: Ian Hyslop, Re-Imagining Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand Blog, 27.06.2017

Oranga Tamariki defends 'child-centred' approach following academic review, Stuff, 21.06.2017

Review Shows Child Protection Services Need Further Work, Press Release: Otago University, 19.06.2016

Oranga Tamariki policy ignores poverty and whanau, Waatea News, 19.06.2017

Voice of children should be listened to - advocate, Radio NZ, 28.05.2017

Category: Oranga Tamariki