Government starting work to develop Child Wellbeing Strategy

Image: Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

The Government has begun work on developing a Child Wellbeing Strategy. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Children’s Minister Tracey Martin held a forum in Wellington on 24 May 2018 with representatives from community groups to discuss children’s wellbeing.

Tracey Martin said “Over the next couple of months, officials will continue to seek input from groups, like those we are meeting with today, before beginning a broader public engagement process in the second half of the year." She also said the Strategy would be focused around safety, security, connectedness, wellness and development.

An initial version of the strategy is expected to be published next year.

This work comes from the Child Poverty Reduction Bill. If passed it will require the Government to develop and report on a child wellbeing strategy with a focus on reducing child poverty. The bill is currently with Select Committee after the consultation period closed in April.

It was announced as part of Budget 2018 that the Child Wellbeing Unit would be funded by Oranga Tamariki.

Earlier this year Treasury published a series of discussion papers to promote conversations about wellbeing measures for New Zealand.

Related news

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has announced an expert advisory group to help with the overhaul of the welfare system

The Government is currently seeking feedback on the proposed approach to "investing for social wellbeing," and a policy for the protection and use of personal information.

The Ministry of Social Development has begun a process to look at independent oversight of the child care and protection system which includes a public consultation.

Children’s Minister Tracey Martin recently announced that Oranga Tamariki is holding hui around the country for Oranga Tamariki providers on "commissioning stronger services for children."

Related research and resources

The need to adress intimate partner violence (IPV) effectively as part of preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect has been addressed in a number of forums.

The Family Violence Death Review Committee published a position brief on the Six reasons we cannot be effective in reducing intimate partner violence or child abuse and neglect unless we address both together.

Two NZFVC issues papers provide research and information about children's exposure to intimate partner violence and appropriate responses:

The issue has also previously been discussed in parliament. Now Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (Domestic and Sexual Violence) Jan Logie previously blogged about the need to address IPV as part of the child protection review and in family law, by integrating "an evidenced based approach to domestic violence into the heart of our child protection services."

Additional research and resources are highlighted below:

The CDC (US) published a technical package to support agencies and communities to understand and address adverse childhood experiences, including exposure and experience of violence, abuse and neglect. The CDC also launched an online training tool, Connecting the Dots, that looks at the links between multiple forms of violence and opportunities for prevention.

Honor Our Voices: Children’s perspectives of domestic violence, MINCAVA
(An online learning module providing you with the opportunity to see domestic violence through the eyes and voices of children.)

Howarth, E., Moore, T.H.M., Welton, N.J., Lewis, N., Stanley, N., MacMillan, H., Shaw, A., Hester, M., Bryden, P. and Feder, G. (2016). IMPRoving Outcomes for children exposed to domestic ViolencE (IMPROVE): An evidence synthesis, Public Health Research, Issue 10.

Hooker, L., Kaspiew, R., and Taft, A. (2016). Domestic and family violence and parenting: Mixed methods insights into impact and support needs: State of knowledge paper, ANROWS Landscapes, Issue 1.

Humphreys, C. (2012). Keeping children safe: Challenges in post-separation parenting, DVRCV Quarterly, No. 2, Winter 2012: 5-8. (Focused on revenge child killings)

Bancroft, L., Silverman, J. G., and Ritchie, D. (2012). The batterer as parent: Addressing the impact of domestic violence on family dynamics (2nd ed.), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Book available for loan from the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse library.

Mittal, P. and Carrington, H. (2012). They didn’t see it. They were sleeping: The voices of children who live with family violence as heard by KIDshine, Shine.

Humphreys, C. and Absler, D. (2011). History repeating: child protection responses to domestic violence. Child & Family Social Work, 16: 464–473.

Hester, M. (2011). The three planet model: Towards an understanding of contradictions in approaches to women and children's safety in contexts of domestic violence, British Journal of Social Work, 2011, 41: 837-853.

Edleson, J. L., and Nissley, B. A. (2011). Emerging responses to children exposed to domestic violence. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet - The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, and National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

Humphreys, C. (2010). Strengthening the mother-child relationship in the aftermath of domestic violence. Strengthening service support and safety: Mothers, children and change, Video UNSW TV: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
(30 min video
 recording of a conference presentation)

Further reading on parenting, intimate partner violence and child abuse and neglect can be found in the NZFVC library under the subjects of child exposure to violence and parenting.

Selected media

CPAG urges immediate action on sanctions where there are children, Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) News, 15.06.2018

Government appoints 11-strong advisory panel to overhaul welfare system video, Stuff, 28.05.2018

Kiro heads strong team for welfare review, Waatea News, 28.05.2018

Govt announces panel to review welfare system, Radio NZ, 28.05.2018

Govt will have 'failed completely' if they don't reform benefits - Andrew Becroft, Newshub, 26.05.2018 (also see the full transcript)

New child poverty law too narrow - community groups, Radio NZ, 24.05.2018

Budget 2018: Moves to end child poverty welcomed, but advocates say beneficiaries let down, NZ Herald, 18.05.2018

Budget 2018: Funding for vulnerable children receives mixed response, NZ Herald, 17.05.2018

Budget 2018: Special units in PM's Department to drive child poverty reduction policy, NZ Herald, 17.05.2018