Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has announced that legislative changes around vulnerable children will be introduced shortly in an omnibus Bill.
Briefly, the legislation holds Police, Justice, and the Ministries of Health, Education and Social Development Chief Executive Officers accountable for protecting and improving the lives of vulnerable children. Child protection policies will be adopted by those five departments as well as Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation (Housing), District Health Boards and school Board of Trustees.
The Vulnerable Children Bill will also introduce standard screening and vetting of the 'children's workforce', Child Harm Prevention Orders and measures targeting 'subsequent children', potentially including limiting the guardianship rights of birth parents. The Bill will be introduced, have its first reading and be referred to Select Committee in August or September 2013.
Read Paula Bennett's announcement and media release and visit the Children's Action Plan website for further information. Responses to the announcement from various NGOs, political parties and a range of other organisations are collated in the media below.
UPDATE: Read the Vulnerable Children Bill, introduced to Parliament on 2 September 2013.
Bryan Bruce: Charter schools' murky screening policy ripe for abuse, NZ Herald, 28.08.2013
Children's bill threatens fundamental rights, Stuff, 27.08.2013
Key Notes: Protecting vulnerable children, Column: New Zealand Government – John Key, Stuff, 23.08.2013
Law Society worried about instant dismissals, Radio New Zealand, 19.08.2013
Welfare proposals praiseworthy but problematic, Auckland Now, 19.08.2013
Tough on child abuse, Otago Daily Times, 19.08.2013
Sex-pest test means instant dismissal, The Dominion Post, 18.08.2013
Action on child abuse overdue, needs to be resourced well, The Gisborne Herald, 16.08.2013
Biggest child abuse offender is the govt - Harawira, Voxy, 14.08.2013
Child abuse legislation could breach human rights, 3 News, 14.08.2013
Screening and vetting child protection plan 'undercooked', Voxy, 15.08.2013
Editorial: Circle of abuse needs breaking, The Dominion Post, 15.08.2013
Children's Action Plan 'needs broader scope', Voxy, 14.08.2013
Child abuse policy 'must be subject to democratic process', Voxy, 13.08.2013
Care needed on child abuse policy - Dunne, Voxy, 13.08.2013
Whanau 'must step up' to help prevent child abuse, Voxy, 13.08.2013
Labour reserve judgement on new child welfare policies, NewsTalkZB, 13.08.2013
Abuse just has to stop - Bennett, Stuff, 14.08.2013
Child-abusers must prove fitness as parents, New Zealand Herald, 13.08.2013
Opposition differs on new child abuse laws, MSN News, 13.08.2013
Protecting kids the number one priority - King, Voxy, 13.08.2013
Bill to ensure greater protection for children, Radio New Zealand, 13.08.2013
Shine welcomes law change to protect children, Voxy, 13.08.2013
Minister praised for protecting vulnerable children, Radio New Zealand, 13.08.2013
Child-abuse suspects to be kept away from kids, New Zealand Herald, 13.08.2013