White Paper for Vulnerable ChildrenPaula Bennett Social Development
The White Paper for Vulnerable Children is bigger than politics. It is bigger than any one individual. It is not only for this generation of children, but also for their children and their grandchildren.
We are all responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of our children. Too many children are seriously abused and neglected. In many cases of extreme abuse a range of people held some information but no one put all the pieces together. It is time for fundamental change.
Three separate but complementary documents form this White Paper, including the Children’s Action Plan, which will be the basis for the most significant advancement in child protection this country has ever seen. They give us clear, easy to digest direction on how our child protection system will be reformed and the new measures that will be implemented over the coming decade.
CHILDREN’S ACTION PLAN – Our main Initiatives
- New legislation will make chief executives of Social Development, Health, Justice, Police, Housing and Te Puni Kokiri jointly accountable for achieving results for all vulnerable children.
- Regional Directors and Children’s Teams will coordinate individualised responses locally.
- New Child Protect Line will triage calls appropriately. Many people are concerned about children but don’t want to call Child, Youth and Family. This new line will be the first point of contact and ensure the right response.
- Vulnerable Kid’s Information System will be put in place and a comprehensive risk predictor tool will be developed alongside Auckland University to identify vulnerable children before they are abused and get them the help they need.
- Tough new restrictions for abusers through child abuse prevention orders will allow judges to stop child abusers from gaining access to children.
- Ongoing support to families who take in a child will be provided by non-government organisations
- More specialist trained caregivers for high-needs and high-risk teens.
- Review of Child, Youth and Family complaints process and parental leave provisions, with a view to extending these to families who take on a child permanently.
- Screening of people working directly with children will be established through a legislated vetting process and we will encourage social workers to register with the Social Workers Registration Board.
- Child protection orders could mean that another baby born into a potentially abusive environment is removed from that parent’s care.
Mentoring and supporting - Scholarships and mentoring for vulnerable children
Protect and respond - Delivering high quality care services
Reporting child abuse - Public awareness and community action initiative
Professionals helping children - Supporting and improving the children’s workforce
Focusing on what works - Services that work for vulnerable children
Working together, sharing responsibility - White Paper process
For more information visit: http://www.childrensactionplan.govt.nz/