Child protection reform bill has second reading, Select Committee reports

Image: iStock

The Social Services Select Committee has reported back on the second piece of legislation to reform statutory child protection services.

The Bill then had its second reading in Parliament.

The Select Committee's report is available on the Parliament website, along with the submissions it received.

The Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill had its second reading on 29 June 2017.

In a Beehive media release, Minister for Children Anne Tolley said:

"I’ve travelled the country meeting a large number of iwi, Maori organisations and community groups to discuss this Bill. Everyone agrees the child’s safety must come first – but this doesn’t need to be at the exclusion of wider whānau who are able to provide a safe, secure and loving home. I’ve always said that wherever possible a child should live with their family, whānau, or hapū provided it’s in their best interests, safety and wellbeing. In the Bill's initial draft this was not clear enough so I welcome the Committee’s agreement to clarify the wording. The changes align with the Bill's original intention that children who are removed from their usual caregiver are returned home wherever possible, and where they can’t be returned home and consistent with their best interests, there’s a preference for placement in their wider family, whanau, or hapū. There is also an increase in prominence in the Bill to the concepts of mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga."

However the Labour Party and Green Party did not support the Bill due to of the removed the "whānau first" principle and other concerns. View the Hansard transcript (draft) for further information.

Update

The Bill progressed through the Committee of the whole House on 5 July 2017. See the Beehive Press Release for more details.

Related information

The Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Policy Observatory has published a report by social work academic Emily Keddell, The Child Youth and Family Review: A Commentary on Prevention (June 2017).

Background information

See the previous NZFVC stories for background information, including media commentary:

Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki launched 1 April 2017, April 2017

Minister indicates rethink on Māori children in care; Select Committee hears submissions, March 2017

Closing date extended for submissions on child protection bill; Māori continue to raise concerns, February 2017

Treaty claim lodged on move away from whānau, hapū, iwi placements for children in care, December 2016

Proposal to deprioritise placing Māori children in care with whānau, hapū, iwi criticised, September 2016

Selected media

Ministry of Vulnerable Children addresses failings of CYF, Newshub, 09.07.2017

Oranga Tamariki to be debated in Parliament, Waatea News, 05.07.2017