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The disabled children: voluntary out-of-home placement review

Completion of the Review

The Review was carried out to hear ideas from disabled children, their families/whānau, those who support them, and people with an interest in how to improve the system for voluntary out-of-home placements.

A public consultation took place from 18 March to 29 May 2015. Submissions received during the consultation have helped to inform recommendations to Government on changes to policies, practices and legislation for voluntary out-of-home placements under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989. The Summary Consultation Findings Report is available to read.

To ensure the perspective of disabled young people was central to the Review, the Donald Beasley Institute was contracted to carry out research with young people who had exited from voluntary out-of-home placements. Download a copy of their research report as a word document or you can download the report as an easy read version.

Many of the concerns raised by submitters during the consultation for the Review have been addressed in the recommendations of the Expert Panel for Modernising Child, Youth and Family in its final report ‘Investing in New Zealand’s Children and their Families,’ released on 7 April 2016. This report, and the Government’s response to the recommendations made in the Panel’s report (three Cabinet papers). These can be read on the Ministry of Social Development website.

The Expert Panel’s report acknowledges the unique vulnerability and needs of children with disabilities and their families, and recommends substantial changes to how children with disabilities are treated in order to ensure they are better supported when they are being cared for by their parents, and when they need to be placed in out-of-home care.

The Government has endorsed a number of the Expert Panel’s recommendations that will affect disabled children in care, including repealing sections 141 and 142 of the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 and establishing a new support pathway within the statutory care system which will be available to families caring for disabled children. This will include consideration of transition arrangements for children currently in out-of-home placements under sections 141 and 142, and to ensure that these children get the support they need. The Government has agreed to extend the current provision in the Act around upholding children’s rights to be involved in decision-making. This includes making it a requirement to take active steps to engage children and young people who experience barriers to participation related to disability, language and age.

Information about the consultation process

Whilst the public consultation period has closed, you can read about the Review and the questions asked during the consultation below: