Changing the lives of our young people

Minister Anne Tolley says the overhaul of the nation’s care and protection system, which “is failing the kids that it is there to help” is exactly what the nation needed.
Speaking about the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki at a Pacific Community Leaders Fono in 2016, she explained how it responds to the needs of vulnerable children and young people in care or at risk of going into care.

Hon. Anne Tolley, Minister of Social Development, Acting Minister for Youth

Hon. Anne Tolley, Minister of Social Development, Acting Minister for Youth

This includes the establishment of a youth advisory panel, who have experienced or are still in care, to help inform policy making.

“It’s important to make sure that what we’re doing is actually working and is changing the lives of young people,” she said.

With five core services; prevention, intensive intervention, care support, transition support, and a youth justice system that is focused on reducing offending and reoffending, Minister Tolley said New Zealand is headed in the right direction.

This includes raising the youth justice age to include 17 year olds, who would otherwise be tried as adults. It also offers those who turn 18, and are still struggling with transition, support up to the age of 25.

The new Ministry has incorporated Child, Youth and Family, Community Investment and the Childrens Action Plan Directorate and Childrens Teams.

Building and strengthening relationships with Pacific organisations is part of ensuring the operating model is culturally competent and responsive.

“There is a wealth of expertise and experience in Pacific organisations that could be hugely beneficial if we can incorporate it into the new operating model,” she said.

Minister Tolley said responding to family violence, involving communities and neighbourhoods, is the only way to affect real change.

“If we’re going to see real change, it’s going to come from our communities and our neighbourhoods.

“Staying silent is simply not an option. The aim is that community leaders are able to make it okay for their communities to speak out against violence.”

“It should and will be a partnership between Pacific leaders, communities and Government, to work together to build an operational system. Government can’t do it on its own and can’t expect communities and churches to do it on their own … which is why we need to work together.”