Artwork painted by a young woman (aged 17) with experience of the youth justice system, and her social worker.

Investing in New Zealand’s Children and Their Families

This page outlines the Government's response to the Expert Panel's Final Report. It also includes links to Cabinet Papers which outline the legislative reform required to enable and support transformational change across the sector.

Final Report of the Expert Panel on Modernising Child Youth and Family

In response to the release of the Expert Panel's final report, the Government has announced major state care reforms and a complete overhaul of Child, Youth and Family to improve the long-term life outcomes for New Zealand’s most vulnerable population. The Minister for Social Development, Hon Anne Tolley, says that the whole system needs to be transformed if we are to give vulnerable children and young people the protection and life opportunities they deserve.

A new entity will be in place which will have high aspirations for all children and address their short and long-term wellbeing and support their transition into adulthood. It will focus on five core services – prevention, intensive intervention, care support services, transition support and a youth justice service aimed at preventing offending and reoffending.”

While the new entity will be in place by 1 April 2017, the wider programme of transformational change is expected to take up to five years to be fully implemented.

Find out more about the Final Report of the Expert Panel on Modernising Child Youth and Family, including the Government's response.

The Cabinet papers that outline these proposals are published below.

New children’s agency established – the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki

To support the transformation of the vulnerable children’s system, the Government has agreed to establish a new stand-alone government department.

The creation of the new Ministry signals a ‘whole of sector’, child-centred approach to working with vulnerable children and young people. It establishes the new Ministry as a single point of accountability which will ensure that government agencies work together to provide coherent and complete services to these children, young people and their families.

The Minister for Social Development has announced that the new department will be called the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki and it will be operational from 1 April 2017.

The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki will be responsible for the care and protection of vulnerable children and young people, youth justice services and operational adoption services. The Children’s Action Plan Directorate and the Children’s Teams will become part of the new Ministry.

Community Investment functions relating to funding and contracting services for vulnerable children will transfer to the new Ministry, along with family and sexual violence services relating to child victims or perpetrators, complaint and grievance panel services and policy advice relevant to these functions.

The establishment for the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki and the transfer of roles and functions will have a significant impact on the Ministry of Social Development.

From 1 April 2017, the Ministry of Social Development will continue to have responsibility for the assessment and payment of welfare benefits and entitlements, employment support and training, social housing assessments, case management, and purchasing places for emergency and social housing.

The Ministry of Social Development will manage funding and contracting for social services not focused on vulnerable children (for example, budgeting advisory services, elder abuse and neglect), as well as those family and sexual violence services not directly related to child victims or perpetrators. It will be responsible for the Office for Seniors and Services for Seniors, the Office for Disability Issues and the Ministry of Youth Development and for the resolution of historic and contemporary claims against Child, Youth and Family.

A comprehensive programme of work is underway to implement these changes and to ensure that the new Ministry is operational from 1 April 2017.

The Cabinet papers that outline these legislative proposals are published below.

Next steps in establishing the new children’s entity and implications for the Ministry of Social Development
Orders in Council to establish the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki
Transition arrangements

Following Cabinet’s agreement in July 2016 on the roles and functions of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Social Development, the Chief Executives of the two Ministries agreed the allocation of capability each agency will need to support its functions. This includes the allocation of existing MSD staff and appropriations between the agencies and final decisions on the operating model for the provision of corporate support services. The two agencies will work closely together, building on shared experience to better help the clients both agencies work with.

The Cabinet paper outlining this allocation is published below:

Establishment of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki - Transition Arrangements: Allocation of Capability and Appropriations, and Arrangements for Corporate Services

Phase one legislation reform: Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Advocacy, Workforce, and Age Settings) Amendment Act 2016

The first phase of legislative reform, The Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Advocacy, Workforce, and Age Settings) Amendment Act, was passed in December 2016 and takes effect from 1 April 2017.

The key changes in the Bill are:

  • raising the age of care and protection to include 17-year-olds
  • supporting children and young people to express their views and ensuring that these are taken into account at an individual level and in the development of service and policy
  • supporting children and young people to participate
  • enabling a broader range of professionals to perform a wider set of functions.

Resources

Factsheets and frequently asked questions have been developed to support understanding and implementation of the Act:

Background to Act

More information, as well as advice provided by the Ministry of Social Development during the select committee process and public submissions, is available on the Parliament website.

The papers that outlined the proposals are published below:

Phase two legislation reform:  Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill 

The second phase of legislation reform- the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill - was introduced on 8 December 2016. The proposals in this Bill cover a wide-ranging set of legislative reforms.

The Bill will provide the foundations for the system by:

  • ensuring an effective and accountable child-centred system
  • improving outcomes for Māori
  • sharing information to better respond to vulnerable children and young people

The Bill will also support the operation of the new Ministry’s five core services to:

  • target early investment in the lives of children and families
  • respond to concerns
  • help children and young people develop life-long relationships with caregiving families
  • help children and young people to lead crime free lives
  • help young people transition to independence.