Minister for Children Anne Tolley says that events are being held all around New Zealand this Sunday to celebrate Children’s Day, as Foster Care Awareness week gets under way.
“Sunday will mark the 17th annual Children’s Day, as we celebrate our youngest New Zealanders,” says Mrs Tolley.
“This is all about spending time with our children, having fun, praising and encouraging them, and focusing on giving them the opportunity to thrive.”
“Sunday also sees the start of Foster Care Awareness week, as we acknowledge the crucial work that these fantastic people do in our communities.
“We have over 3,600 foster carers in this country who have opened their hearts and their homes to almost 4,500 children and young people, who through no fault of their own are in care.
“These current foster carers, and those who will join us in the years ahead, will play an integral part in the overhaul of care and protection each and every day under the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, and as we raise the age of care and support.
“But we need to do more than just appreciate caregivers. As part of the overhaul we have pledged to provide intensive targeted support for foster carers including some increased financial assistance and better access to support services, and we are working on this at the moment.
“The new care and protection system will be completely child-centred. It also requires loving adults to provide the safe and stable homes that vulnerable children deserve, and I want to thank all of the caregivers for the difference they make in young people’s lives.”
Local Government Minister Anne Tolley has announced the appointment of Brendan Duffy as a temporary member of the Local Government Commission.
Mr Duffy has had a long career in local government having held the roles of Councillor for 10 years, then Mayor of the Horowhenua District Council for 12 years. He is currently the Deputy Chair of the MidCentral District Health Board. Mr Duffy is also a Justice of the Peace.
Mrs Tolley said the appointment of Mr Duffy will assist the Commission with its reorganisation work, particularly in the Wairarapa.
“Brendan is a welcome addition to the Commission and I know that his commitment and experience will be extremely valuable,” says Mrs Tolley.
Mr Duffy’s appointment will end on 28 February 2018.
The membership of the Local Government Commission currently consists of the Chair, Sir Wira Gardiner, and members Janie Annear and Leigh Auton as well as temporary member, Geoff Dangerfield.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley today announced new funding of $1.8 million over three years to grow the skills and capability of Tairāwhiti’s regional labour force, including youth.
Mrs Tolley says the significant investment in the labour force is a key element in the Government’s Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan, announced today by Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges.
“Our aim is to create pathways and opportunities for people to move from education and training into employment and improve local training opportunities to better meet the needs of the region’s employers and industry,” says Mrs Tolley.
Most of the Ministry of Social Development’s Action Plan funding will be spent in the first year and includes:$450,000 over three years towards supporting clients to gain their driver licence (MSD currently funds around $92,000 per year) $150,000 towards a coordinator in the horticulture sector $280,000 towards contracts with employers and training providers to support the seasonal labour force $240,000 for investment in training, employment and pastoral care $300,000 towards truck driver training $220,000 towards a pilot to support clients to rehabilitate from drug use with a focus on gaining employment $185,000 towards implementing the Tairāwhiti Youth Employment Strategy.
Mrs Tolley says the Tairāwhiti Youth Employment Strategy was developed by Activate Tairāwhiti in three workshops with over 180 people, including local employers, education and training providers, iwi, social agencies, youth representatives and officials.
“The Tairāwhiti economy has great potential for growth in tourism, the primary sector and related industries, such as engineering, transport and trucking,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The strategy will involve and benefit youth in the region with skills and support to foster their greater participation in the economy. Employers and the whole community will benefit from more skilled labour, with young people and their whānau benefitting from better incomes.
“I’m really pleased to support local efforts to address youth unemployment. Developing the potential of young jobseekers to match the needs of business is vital for the social and economic future of Tairāwhiti.”
Minister for Economic Development Simon Bridges and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley have today announced a final extension to the support package for businesses affected by the Kaikōura earthquake.
The Government approved $17.5 million dollars to support businesses in Kaikōura, Hurunui, Marlborough and Wellington post-earthquake. To date businesses have accessed almost $14.9 million of that fund.
“Kaikōura and Hurunui are still getting back on their feet following last year’s earthquake, so it makes sense to extend the support package for businesses,” says Mr Bridges.
“Wellington and Hutt Councils have told us that most cordons will soon be lifted. Therefore to ensure the rest of the fund is spent where it is most needed, businesses in the Wellington and Hutt areas will no longer be eligible from 5 March,” says Mr Bridges.
“The extension will be until 30 April, but will be tiered in two stages. For the first four weeks, businesses will receive $375 per week for each full time employee and $225 for each part time employee. For the second four weeks that will move to $250 and $150 respectively,” says Mrs Tolley.
In addition to this, Cabinet has approved a new one-million dollar business grant programme for Kaikōura, Hurunui and Marlborough.
A business recovery trust will be set up by the Kaikōura District Council and the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment to administer the fund and ensure the businesses that most need support, receive it.
“Kaikōura and the surrounding area are recovering slowly, but it will take time to reopen State Highway One. We believe the establishment of a business recovery trust, similar to the one which supported Christchurch businesses after the Canterbury earthquakes, is the ideal way to ensure support is targeted to businesses most in need post 30 April,” says Mr Bridges.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says that the number of teen mums requiring a benefit has fallen significantly since 2009, alongside increased government support to help them and their families lead independent and successful lives.
There were 57 per cent fewer young mums on main benefits at the end of 2016 compared to 2009, down from 4,263 to 1,836.
Teen parents have some of the highest lifetime costs of any group on welfare, going on to spend more than 17 years on benefits.
“We want to see young families thrive, rather than relying on benefits,” says Mrs Tolley.
“If we can give young mums opportunities to be independent and successful then that will mean better lives for their children. We know that kids who grow up in benefit-dependent homes are more likely themselves to go on to a benefit, are more likely to be notified to CYF and are less likely to achieve NCEA Level 2.
“The Youth Service has been supporting young sole parents into training and education and helping them prepare for employment, while also offering budgeting and parenting skills.
“Budget 2016 invested an additional $41 million into this service to extend it to 19 year old parents.
“We are getting in early and working for longer with the young people who need this intensive support. They deserve opportunities to learn important skills to help prepare them for employment. It benefits them and their families and also reduces the future cost for taxpayers.”
Young mothers aged 16-19 receiving a main benefit as at end of December:Client age Total 16 17 18-19 2009 133 522 3,608 4,263 2010 132 431 3,372 3,935 2011 111 386 3,050 3,547 2012 85 351 2,622 3,058 2013 84 300 2,195 2,579 2014 73 268 1,869 2,210 2015 82 248 1,681 2,011 2016 69 247 1,520 1,836
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has asked MSD to carry out further research into the outcomes for people who come off benefit, following the release of a report on the issue from Superu, which analysed pre-welfare reform data.
“Superu looked at historic data from 2010 and 2011, and the report being released today is useful as it provides important baselines for the work which is to be carried out by MSD on clients who moved off benefit following the 2013 welfare reforms,” says Mrs Tolley.
Using information from Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), the research found that 75 per cent of people who moved off a benefit had not returned to a benefit after two years. Of the 140,000 cases studied, after 24 months:
- 33 per cent were in employment
- 16 per cent had a change in life circumstances, such as retiring or moving overseas, and
- 8 per cent were enrolled in education or training
The study was unable to identify the main activity of 18 per cent of the former clients, and this will form a major part of MSD’s new analysis, which will use more up to date statistics.
“The report also highlights how certain groups, such as those with health issues or who have been in prison, might need extra support back into employment,” says Mrs Tolley.
“I’m pleased to say that Budget 2016 invested $9 million for trials to support people with health conditions and disabilities into work, alongside $15.3 million to help offenders prepare for, find and stay in employment and reduce reoffending.
“Through the welfare reforms we have been focused on supporting people into education, training and sustainable employment. The proportion of the population (10.3 per cent) receiving a main benefit is now the lowest it’s been in a December quarter since before the Global Financial Crisis.
“The next piece of research from MSD will analyse post-reform data and will be extremely valuable as we continue to look at new and innovative ways of helping people lead independent and successful lives.”
The Superu report is available at: http://superu.govt.nz/off-benefits
More frontline services and extra places in perpetrator programmes are on the way for the multi-agency Integrated Safety Response pilot, following an additional injection of funding, Ministers have announced.
An extra $680,000 will allow the Christchurch ISR pilot to continue its work to combat family and sexual violence.
“The ISR pilot takes a whole-of-family approach to stop family violence by identifying risks and intervening earlier,” Ms Adams says.
“This funding boost will help support more frontline services, such as independent victim specialists and advocates to work with families, and create extra places in programmes to help perpetrators change their behaviour.”
“The pilot brings together all the agencies and NGOs around the one table, and is a key part of Government’s plan to change the way agencies respond to family violence,” Mrs Tolley says.
“The pilot, which has been running in Christchurch since July 2016, is making a difference to agencies and the families they are working with. The ISR team reviews all family violence episodes attended by NZ Police and high-risk prison releases in Christchurch on a daily basis.”
The $680,000 increase comes from the Justice Sector Fund, a cross-agency funding pool which allows money saved in one justice sector agency to be invested in another.
Efforts to reduce family violence will be supported by the 1125 extra police staff that Prime Minister Bill English announced last week as part of the Government’s $503 million Safer Communities package.
The ISR pilot is a key initiative developed by the Ministerial Group on Family and Sexual Violence Work Programme which is committed to reducing family violence and keeping victims safe.
About the Integrated Response Pilot:
The Integrated Safety Response pilot brings together a team of Police, CYF, Corrections, Health, specialist family violence NGOs and Māori service providers to support victims and their families. It aims to better support family violence victims by improving safety and stopping family violence escalating by identifying risks and intervening earlier. It has been operating in Christchurch since July 2016, and a second pilot running in Waikato since October 2016. More information at www.police.govt.nz/about-us/programmes-and-initiatives/integrated-safety-response-isr-pilot
Minister for Children Anne Tolley has welcomed New Zealand’s first independent connection and advocacy service for children and young people in care, which will be called VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai.
The service, which was a recommendation of the expert panel which advised the Minister on the overhaul of care and protection, will begin operating as a new NGO in April 2017. It will help children and young people across the country who are in care to connect with each other, and will ensure that the views of young people are included in the development of policies and services in the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai has been developed in partnership between young people with experience of being in care, the government, the philanthropic sector and NGOs. Legislation was passed in Parliament at the end of last year to enable its establishment.
Initial government funding of $1.2 million has helped set-up the new service, with a further $6.9 million to be contributed by the government through to June 2019, to help build its capability.
“I am delighted that, for the first time, young people in care in New Zealand are to have an independent advocacy service to represent them,” says Mrs Tolley.
“The voices and needs of young people need to be at the very centre of all decision-making in the new model for care and protection, and this service will play a vital role.
“In addition, a Youth Advisory Panel made up of young people in care or with experience of being in care, will continue to advise me on all aspects of the overhaul and the implementation of a completely new care system.
“There are no quick fixes. The radical overhaul of care and protection is going to take a huge amount of work over a number of years. But it needs to take place and we are determined to make this succeed for our vulnerable young people.”
Notes to editors:
A new operating model for New Zealand’s care system under the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki is being developed, to begin in April 2017 and unlike Child, Youth and Family it will not simply focus on crisis management, but will ensure better long-term life outcomes for children and young people in care. The new model will have five core services - prevention, intensive intervention, care support, transition support and a youth justice system aimed at preventing offending and reoffending.
Budget 2016 invested $347 million to support the transformation to the new operating model and for cost pressures.
The overhaul includes:
- A new child-centred operating model with a greater focus on harm and trauma prevention and early intervention. It will provide a single point of accountability for the long-term wellbeing of vulnerable children, with the voice of the child represented in planning and strategy. A social investment approach using actuarial valuations and evidence of what works will identify the best way of targeting early interventions, to ensure that vulnerable children and families receive the care and support they need, when they need it.
- Direct purchasing of vital services such as health, education and counselling support to allow funding to follow the child, so that these young people can gain immediate access to assistance.
- A stronger focus on reducing the over-representation of Māori young people in the system. Currently, six out of ten children in care are Māori.
- Intensive targeted support for caregivers, including some increased financial assistance and better access to support services. For the first time, National Care Standards will be introduced so that there is a clear expectation for the standard and quality of care in placement homes. A new trauma-informed Professional Practice Framework will also be introduced for staff.
Legislation has also been introduced to:
- Allow young people to remain in care or return to care up until the age of 21, with transition support and advice available up to 25
- Enable the establishment of an information sharing framework to keep vulnerable children and young people safe from harm, and
- Extend the youth justice system to include lower-risk 17 year olds
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the number of people receiving a benefit is continuing to decline year on year, with sole parents driving the biggest reduction in numbers.Read more
The Government has extended the employee support subsidy for quake-affected businesses inWellington and Hurunui District, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley have announced.Read more