All Ki­wis can help pro­tect our chil­dren

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About -

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.

MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Grainne Moss, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Oranga Tamariki.

Sue Critch­ley.

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