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

The foundation building blocks of the future operating model

The operating model for our new system for vulnerable children will be underpinned by six foundation building blocks:

A child-centred system

No organisation can care for a child as a family can, but the system will make sure a child has a relationship with at least one adult who is able to love, protect and ensure their welfare. The opportunity to hear the voices of young people will be embedded into the operating model, through a Youth Advisory Panel and new statutory objectives to give effect to those voices.

High aspirations for Māori children

The majority of children known to Child, Youth and Family are Māori. The operating model will set high and explicit targets to improve outcomes for vulnerable Māori children, young people and their whänau. The new operating model will establish strategic partnering with iwi and Māori organisations to provide leadership, direction and influence and invite innovative approaches and initiatives to improve these outcomes.

An investment approach

A social investment approach for vulnerable children will inform the design of the new operating model and underpin the long term prevention aspirations of the model. It will consider a lifetime view of the wellbeing of individual children and intervene early in evidence-based ways to address their vulnerability. This is the most effective way to make a significant, positive impact on their future lifetime outcomes. A lifetime actuarial model of the sector, based on projected lifetime outcomes for vulnerable children in the current system, will give us a common framework for measuring impacts and effectiveness, and guidance on when and how to better support children and young people.

Strategic partnerships

The current system, with diffuse accountabilities and funding across various agencies, hasn’t worked to get vulnerable children the services they need. The new Ministry will need to engage in strategic partnerships with iwi, Māori and Pacific organisations, service providers, local communities and other government agencies. We will develop innovative and flexible funding approaches and delivery models, to make it easier for children and families to access the right services at the right time. Collectively, we can make a much greater impact. Find out more about Strategic Partnering

A professional practice framework

A clear framework of practice will describe the values, principles, definitions and approaches at both system and practitioner levels to deliver positive outcomes for vulnerable children. This will develop the professional judgment of both social workers and other professionals, based on an evidence-based understanding of the impact of trauma on children and young people. This framework will be shared across all agencies working with vulnerable children to ensure a coherent experience for children, young people and their families.

Engaging all New Zealanders

A key take-out of the Expert Panel's Final Report is that all New Zealanders can have a role in providing love, care and support to vulnerable children, young people and their families. An engagement strategy will be undertaken to raise awareness in the wider community of how they can be involved – for example, by becoming a caregiver or supporting caregiver; as employers and businesses, providing opportunities for employment, training, mentoring; and in the community and as individuals, by giving and volunteering, among other things. The new organisational form will work with the Youth Advisory Panel and the advocacy service to influence and support these initiatives.

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