The Oversight of Oranga Tamariki System Bill and the Children and Young People’s Commission Bill have passed their Third Reading in Parliament.
“We want Aotearoa New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child, which is why we’ve taken the steps neccessary to strengthen monitoring, complaints processes and advocacy for our children and young people,” said Minister for Social Development and Employment, Carmel Sepuloni.
“These Bills are an important stepping stone towards ensuring we can avoid the errors of the past. I’m confident that these Bills will also make a positive difference for our children and young people.
The legislation will strengthen the system by establishing an Independent Monitor of Oranga Tamariki as a statutory officer that is legally independent. It will require an accessible and timely complaints and investigation process for children and young people through the Ombudsman and bolstering the diversity and powers of advocacy through the Children and Young People’s Commission.
“Today completes a process we started four years ago. It’s been a strongly contested and argued debate, but what we now have is a new landscape that will make a positive difference for our children and young people. It provides us with key structures and systems that will help ensure we can avoid the errors of the past, furthering our efforts to make Aotearoa New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child,” Ms Sepuloni said.
“We’re retaining a Chief Children’s Commissioner, we’ve strengthened the independence of the monitor, and we’ve reduced the review period to three years instead of five.
“The review period will ensure we can take into account recommendations from the Abuse in State Care Royal Commission of Inquiry and make any changes needed, whilst also ensuring we’re acting as quickly as possible to strengthen the oversight of the system.”