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Anne Tolley Announces major review of CYF

April 02, 2015 at 9:06 AM

Independent expert panel to lead major CYF overhaul - Media release

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has announced that an independent panel has been established to lead a complete overhaul of Child, Youth and Family, to ensure that the agency delivers the best possible results for vulnerable children and their families in the decades ahead.

The expert panel, led by Paula Rebstock, will oversee the development and implementation of a new operating model to modernise CYF, enhance its governance and assurance, and will have a wide-ranging brief to consider all aspects of CYF operations.

“For the sake of vulnerable children we must do better, and we need a very clear strategy that focuses on the needs of children, rather than the needs of the system,” says Mrs Tolley.

“New Zealand used to be a world leader in the field of child protection, but I believe we are now eight to ten years behind in our thinking in some important areas, such as how we support children in state care.

“In recent years, reports on various aspects of CYF operations have highlighted issues such as the need for a child-centred approach, areas for improving structures to support practice, and social worker caseloads where there was a lack of clarity around core business.

“CYF has drafted its own internal modernisation strategy, and while it is a good starting point it doesn’t go far enough.

“The independent expert panel will not be tinkering around the edges and small-scale changes are unlikely to produce the results we all want to see.

“We now have an opportunity to inject fresh thinking and external expertise, and examine where CYF sits in a changing landscape which includes the implementation of the Vulnerable Children’s Act, Children’s Teams and Whānau Ora.

“CYF needs to focus on its core business and put children and young people in CYF care at the centre of everything it does.

“CYF staff are dedicated and hard-working, and do a very difficult job. It’s vital that they have a clear understanding of their roles with a robust system in place and strong support from management, and that they don’t get bogged down in administration.”

The expert panel will provide a high level business case to the Minister by 30 July 2015, with a detailed business case to follow by December 2015.

The terms of reference for the panel and the Cabinet paper establishing the panel can be found here:  

Panel members:

Paula Rebstock (Chair)

Ms Rebstock has extensive governance experience and is Chair of the ACC Board, Chair of the Work and Income Board, Deputy Chair of KiwiRail, Chair of the Insurance and Savings Commission, a member of the University of Auckland Business School Advisory Board and a Director of Auckland Transport. She is also lead reviewer for the Improvement Framework for the State Services Commission.

Commissioner Mike Bush

Commissioner Bush joined New Zealand Police in 1978 and has held a number of senior operational and administrative positions including Counties-Manukau District Commander, where he pioneered the prevention first operating strategy. Commissioner Bush led significant operational changes to Police through the Policing Excellence programme. He was awarded the MNZM for his service as New Zealand Police’s South East Asian liaison officer following the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Duncan Dunlop

Mr Dunlop has been Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland, an independent advocacy charity for young people in care, since January 2012. He has led the development of youth-work infrastructure and programmes in a range of environments from Lithuania and Ghana to the Balkans and across the UK.

Helen Leahy

Ms Leahy is a Specialist Advisor, Strategy and Influence, for Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. She has held several senior roles in Parliament including Chief of Staff of the Māori Party and Senior Ministerial Advisor for the former Minister of Whānau Ora. A former high school teacher, Ms Leahy has worked in a range of community sectors such as domestic violence, adolescent health and development, youth and women’s affairs.

Professor Richie Poulton

Professor Poulton is the Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Social Development and has led the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study at the University of Otago for the past 15 years. He is a Professor of Psychology, Co-Director of the National Centre for Lifecourse Research and Director of the Graduate Longitudinal Study. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and recipient of the RSNZ Dame Joan Metge Medal.

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