Changes ahead for Child Youth and Family

A new advocacy service to represent the voices of vulnerable children could be on the cards in a shakeup of the Child Youth and Family system.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley released an interim report 'Modernising Child Youth and Family' which outlined the agency is not delivering its services effectively.

According to the Minister, an independent expert panel compiled the report and has begun work on a future operating model which will prioritise the needs of children.

Operational matters, early intervention, caregiver support, recruiting and training and raising the age of state care are among the areas the panel is expected to provide advice on.

Tolley says the report “provides a vital overview which is being used to design our radical overhaul of the CYF system, which I have no doubt will require targeted additional investment and reprioritisation of resources to get the best possible results for our vulnerable young people.”

She also says the report highlights that new notifications have been falling over the last few years but demand for CYF services has increased as a result of children re-entering the system on multiple occasions.

The panel has set four key areas for the new operating model which include shifting away from processes and administration and putting children at the forefront. Using evidence of what works to improve early intervention, implementing principles as opposed to rules which allows staff to use their professional judgement. Engaging New Zealanders and communities to provide more sound and safe communities for vulnerable children.

Tolley says, “The whole country has to take ownership of this situation. We cannot say that these children are someone else’s problem. Government agencies need to work together and communities need to play their part, to make a difference for these vulnerable kids.”