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Final Report from expert panel into CYF released

April 07, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Final Report from expert panel into CYF released

The Expert Panel Final Report 'Investing in New Zealand's Children and their Families' has been released, signalling significant changes to child protection and care systems in New Zealand. 


The report proposes a new operating model which consists of five core services:


Using the investment approach and evidence it will develop and target early interventions to prevent harm and trauma. It will support families to develop stable and loving relationships to avoid young people having to end up in state care. New services to prevent youth offending will also be developed.


Intensive intervention

It will be a single point of entry for identifying and assessing the needs of vulnerable children, young people and their families. It will have a professional practice framework that explicitly recognises trauma, and will ensure there is access to therapeutic services.


Care support

To reduce the trauma of multiple care placement it will focus on getting children into a stable and loving caregiving family at the earliest opportunity. Mandatory National Care Standards will be developed, with greater scrutiny of caregivers to prevent re-victimisation. There will also be a recruitment strategy to create a large and diverse pool of suitable caregiver families, alongside increased financial and other supports for these families.


Youth Justice

Using an investment approach children with complex needs who offend will be treated as a priority group, and evidence-based services which reduce offending and reoffending will be increased. Where appropriate and with public safety in mind, alternatives will be found for some young people currently remanded in secure residences to reduce the unintended long-term negative impacts this has on them.


Supported transitions into young adulthood

The minimum age of state care will be raised to a young person’s 18 th birthday, with options being developed to allow some young people to remain or return to care up to age 21. Consideration will also be given to having some kind of support in place, depending on needs, up to age 25.


The panel recommends that a new department be established that will provide a single point of accountability for vulnerable children and which will be responsible for brokering access to services for children and their families. This department would transfer the following functions from MSD:

  1. Child, Youth and Family,
  2. Community Investment,
  3. the Children’s Action Plan Directorate (including the Children’s Teams, The Hub and the Vulnerable Kids Information System),
  4. the High and Complex Needs Unit,
  5. policy, research, evaluation and legislative functions, and data and analytics capability relating to community, family, care and protection, and youth issues, and
  6. CYF-focussed legal, communications, ministerial services and service design.


The panel also recommends that a new independent youth advocacy service be established. This service will provide opportunities for those children and young people who have been part of the care system to have a voice. This is to be launched in March 2017 and will will be funded in partnership with the philanthropic sector. 


You can read the full report here

The future of child protection and care: Q and A

Fact Sheet


Related media:

Radical changes to child protection and care - Beehive

CYF shake-up: What you need to know - NZ Herald 

Young people to have voice in new CYF set up - NZ Herald

CYF reforms: Budget raised to $1.3b a year - NZ Herald

New plan for children in care unveiled - Radio NZ