All Kiwis can help protect our children
On April 1, Child, Youth and Family became part of the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
The new ministry also includes Children’s Teams and some parts of Community Investment - it’s not just a makeover of CYF, it’s a transformation into a whole new ministry.
There are many more changes to come, and this transformation will happen over the next few years – we want to lead the world in the care of children and young people.
Our responsibility is the care and protection of children, but we can’t do it alone. We need every New Zealander to stand up for our young people; to speak up when things aren’t right, to be the voice for our most vulnerable children.
Whether they are part of your own family, next door, in your neighbourhood or further afield, we all have a stake in the wellbeing and success of this country’s children and young people.
We also need people to open their hearts and homes for young people in need of care, short-term, long-term, emergency or respite care. There are many ways you can help.
For our part, we are creating a major shift in emphasis. Identifying and responding to safety concerns will remain our core function. However we are moving from a system that is focused on crisis response to one that focuses on prevention and early intervention. Preventing vulnerability is the most effective way to create positive life changes.
We will also work hard to secure the very best outcomes for our tamariki Maori, who are currently over-represented in care and in the youth justice system.
By investing up front in our children, we can ensure their wellbeing further down the line.
We want to be more transparent – more open and direct about what we do and why.
In the meantime, take some time this week to celebrate and acknowledge the young people in your life, and make sure the children and young people around you are OK. You could make all the difference.
To find out more about the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, visit our website at www.mvcot.govt.nz.
If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 111. If you are worried a child or young person you know could be at risk of harm from abuse or neglect, call Oranga Tamariki on 0508 326 459 (0508 FAMILY).
-Sue Critchley is Waikato Regional Manager for Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
Grainne Moss, chief executive of Oranga Tamariki.