Government launches Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy
Thu 29 Aug 2019
The Government launched its Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy on 29 August 2019. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet led the development of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy in collaboration with other agencies.
The development of the strategy also involved hearing from over 10,000 New Zealanders, including 6,000 children and young people, and working with a reference group.
The purpose of the strategy is to:
- "Set out a framework to improve child and youth wellbeing that can be used by anyone.
- Drive government policy in a unified and holistic way
- Outline the policies the Government intends to implement
- Harness public support and community action
- Increase political and public sector accountability for improving wellbeing
- Improve wellbeing outcomes for Māori children and young people"
Under changes to the Children's Act passed in 2018, the government is required to adopt a strategy, review the strategy every three years, and publish an annual report on progress in achieving strategy’s outcomes.
The strategy's vision is "New Zealand is the best place in the world for children and young people" It has nine guiding principles and six wellbeing outcomes for child and youth wellbeing.
A Programme of Action has also been published which sets out how the strategy will drive and align government efforts, how it will be implemented and how progress will be measured and reported. It outlines 75 initiatives across 20 government agencies.
The strategy focuses on all New Zealanders under 25 years old, approximately 33% of the population.
The Strategy is available in several formats including Te Reo Māori and Easy Read.
The nine guiding principles are:
- "Children and young people are taonga.
- Māori are tangata whenua and the Māori-Crown relationship is foundational.
- Children and young people’s rights need to be respected and upheld.
- All children and young people deserve to live a good life.
- Wellbeing needs holistic and comprehensive approaches.
- Children and young people’s wellbeing is interwoven with family and whānau wellbeing.
- Change requires action by all of us.
- Actions must deliver better life outcomes.
- Early support is needed."
The six high-level and interconnected wellbeing outcomes are for children and young people to be:
- "Loved, safe and nurtured
- Have what they need
- Happy and healthy
- Learning and developing
- Accepted, respected and connected
- Involved and empowered"
According to the Strategy, Loved, safe and nurtured means:
- "they feel loved and supported
- they have family, whānau and homes that are loving, safe and nurturing
- they are safe from unintentional harm
- they are safe from intentional harm (including neglect, and emotional, physical and sexual abuse)
- they are able to spend quality time with their parents, family and whānau."
The strategy states "The best place for a child is in the safe, loving and stable care of their families, whānau, hapū, iwi or family group."
The focus for this principle is on "supporting families and whānau to provide safe, loving and nurturing homes and preventing children and young people experiencing abuse or neglect, or being exposed to family or sexual violence."
The next steps section of the strategy outlines three main priorities:
- "improving, as a particular focus, the wellbeing of children with greater needs;
- reducing child poverty and mitigating impacts of child poverty and of socio-economic disadvantage experienced by children;
- improving the wellbeing of the core populations of interest to Oranga Tamariki — Ministry for Children.
Programme of Action
The Programme of Action includes policies, initiatives, programmes and plans that the government will implement to achieve the atrategy.
The final section of the strategy outlines indicators for measuring success.
For more information see the new website: childyouthwellbeing.govt.nz.
To stay up to date, sign up for email updates on the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The Ministry of Health is currently consulting on the Well Child Tamariki Ora Programme. The programme provides universal child health services and checks to children, tamariki and their families and whānau. The deadline to submit feedback is 31 October 2019.
Update: Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children has published the results from the Children in New Zealand Communities Survey 2019.