Two girls eating oranges.

Launch of the White Paper for Vulnerable Children

11 October 2012.

We must all do more to protect children and social sector agency heads will play our part by fundamentally changing the way we work, says Social Development Ministry Chief Executive Brendan Boyle.

Social Sector Agencies committed to protecting children

The White Paper sets out a framework which ensures key agencies and professionals working with children are better connected so they can share information on vulnerable children and identify their needs earlier.

“It outlines plans for social sector chief executives to form a Vulnerable Children’s Board to oversee the implementation of the White Paper and reduce the extent of child abuse and neglect in this country.

“It is our job to change the way we think and operate so we are truly and proudly child-centred and getting children the help they need,” said Brendan Boyle.

Police Commissioner Peter Marshall says the White Paper is a long term plan which will help agencies work more closely to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“Police and our partner agencies are confronted with the tragic consequences of the abuse and neglect inflicted on children far too often.

“The White Paper’s objectives fully coincide with the Police’s operational strategy – which emphasizes Prevention First - and we are committed to working closely with others in the sector and elsewhere to achieve better outcomes for vulnerable children", he said.

Education Secretary Lesley Longstone said teachers spent more time with children than any other professional, so had a vital role to play in helping to keep them safe.

“If children are vulnerable they will not successfully engage in education. These initiatives complement our Better Public Service goals of increasing the number of children participating in quality early childhood education before starting school and raising achievement of NCEA Level 2,” she said.

Ministry of Health Director General Kevin Woods said the health sector was committed to working to make sure vulnerable families were identified earlier and provided with support.

"The White Paper provides an opportunity for us to do even more for vulnerable children and their families.  New Zealand's maternity and well child services deliver a range of health and wellbeing checks for pregnant women, babies and children.

“Many children who experience child abuse are known to health services. These services already play a vital role in linking vulnerable families with other services they need, and will be even more important in the implementation of the White Paper.”

Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive Leith Comer said “every child, every whānau, every future is precious and we must do everything to safeguard these taonga.”

“Whānau Ora has a focus on empowering whānau and building whānau capability to be cohesive and nurturing. It will be part of the mix of opportunities available in communities and along with other NGOs and whānau themselves, will play a role in supporting vulnerable children.”
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Acting Deputy Chief Executive (Building and Housing) Nigel Bickle said social housing agencies and providers worked closely with vulnerable families.
“They have an important role to play in identifying at-risk children and we’re determined to do all we can to support them to do this.”

Editor’s Note.  Vulnerable Children’s Board members are the chief executives of: the Ministries of Social Development, Health, Education and Justice; Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Housing), NZ Police.

Two girls eating oranges.
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