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Budget 2017 invests significantly to support vulnerable children and young people in care through the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki, Minister for Children Anne Tolley says.

Budget 2017 funding is made up of $424.4 million operating over the next four years, $2.3 million in 2016/17, and $7.5 million capital.

$26.4 million will be invested to support around 4,500 caregivers of children in care, as well as help for those caring for higher needs children.

“We want to support caregiving families so they can build safe, loving and stable relationships with the vulnerable children and young people in their care,” Mrs Tolley says.

“This funding will provide new and existing caregivers with targeted training so they have the skills and knowledge they need.

“A 24/7 support service will be developed to deliver crisis response and support, and there will be more access to specialist advice, and one on one support.

“The funding will also help to recruit a larger, more diverse group of caregivers who can access financial support tailored to meet the needs of the young people they care for.”

Budget 2017 also includes the following operating funding over the next four years:

$94.4 million to meet the new Ministry’s cost pressures and increasing demand with more children and young people in care. $71 million to extend and support young people in care from age 17 to 18, following the Government’s decision to raise the age limit for state care. $5.4 million for feedback and complaint mechanisms to enable young people to raise concerns and share their insights more easily to improve state care. $28.1 million to expand Family Start – an intensive home visiting programme (previously announced and one of the new Social Investment initiatives). $11.7 million over the next two years to trial and evaluate community based remand placements. $9.7 million over the next two years to support the 10 Children’s Teams. $5.4 million between 2016/17 and 2018/19 for more youth justice residential beds for young people aged 14-16.

This is the second big investment to support vulnerable children since the Ministry was announced in April 2016. As a result of Budget 2017 and last year’s Budget, the Ministry’s annual funding will be 18 per cent higher in 2017/18 than when it was part of Ministry of Social Development two years ago.

“This is part of a four to five year major transformation programme to build a more child-centred care and protection system, focusing on harm and trauma prevention and early intervention,” Mrs Tolley says.

“The Ministry will be piloting a number of initiatives to ensure that future investment is focused on delivering the best outcomes for our most vulnerable children and young people.”

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