Independent expert panel to lead major CYF overhaul
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has announced that an independent panel has been established to lead a complete overhaul of Child, Youth and Family, to ensure that the agency delivers the best possible results for vulnerable children and their families in the decades ahead.
The expert panel, led by Paula Rebstock, will oversee the development and implementation of a new operating model to modernise CYF, enhance its governance and assurance, and will have a wide-ranging brief to consider all aspects of CYF operations.
“For the sake of vulnerable children we must do better, and we need a very clear strategy that focuses on the needs of children, rather than the needs of the system,” says Mrs Tolley.
“New Zealand used to be a world leader in the field of child protection, but I believe we are now eight to ten years behind in our thinking in some important areas, such as how we support children in state care.
“In recent years, reports on various aspects of CYF operations have highlighted issues such as the need for a child-centred approach, areas for improving structures to support practice, and social worker caseloads where there was a lack of clarity around core business.
“CYF has drafted its own internal modernisation strategy, and while it is a good starting point it doesn’t go far enough.
“The independent expert panel will not be tinkering around the edges and small-scale changes are unlikely to produce the results we all want to see.
“We now have an opportunity to inject fresh thinking and external expertise, and examine where CYF sits in a changing landscape which includes the implementation of the Vulnerable Children’s Act, Children’s Teams and Whānau Ora.
“CYF needs to focus on its core business and put children and young people in CYF care at the centre of everything it does.
“CYF staff are dedicated and hard-working, and do a very difficult job. It’s vital that they have a clear understanding of their roles with a robust system in place and strong support from management, and that they don’t get bogged down in administration.”
The expert panel will provide a high level business case to the Minister by 30 July 2015, with a detailed business case to follow by December 2015.
The terms of reference for the panel and the Cabinet paper establishing the panel can be found here: