Government has been working to provide coordinated and effective services for vulnerable children. What is being discussed is a new level of cross-agency working which makes agencies jointly accountable for achieving results for vulnerable children.
The Children’s Action Plan is a model in which existing services including government agencies work together to provide tailored services specifically for the needs of the child. The Children’s Teams are made up of representatives from key agencies, including health, education, justice and social service agencies. They will meet regularly and will appoint a lead professional to work with the child and the family. All the appropriate agencies will work together with the child and family as a whole.
The earlier that at-risk children are identified, the more likely that the right services can be brought together to prevent abuse and strengthen their wellbeing. Children’s teams have a preventative role.
Each child identified as ‘vulnerable’ will have his/her own plan. This plan will set out the things they need, and who will be responsible for delivering the services.
A Children’s Team is then assigned to the child and their family to make sure they receive the right support, protection and care. Together, the Children’s Team and the family will work towards the best outcome for the child.
There has been and will continue to be, discussions between government and the NFP sector regarding such issues as
- Information Sharing
- Predictive Risk Modeling
- Community responsibility
- Implementing Learning Loops that quickly capture learnings and feed them back into systems.
- Ensuring strongly involved iwi
- Professional oversight
- Contracting and funding
- Supporting the Vulnerable Childrens Outcomes Framework.
The Action timeline has lead from the Green Paper in July 2010 to the set up of two demonstration sites. One in Rotorua and one in Whangarei. Sector representatives from these two sites spoke to 2 day workshop in Wellington on the 28th and 29th of January.
The consultation on those two days was with a broad range of community working in this sector, from health, justice, housing, disability and social service organisations. There was representation of iwi at this meeting.
The long term goal of this mahi is for Childrens Teams to be active throughout the country.
To read more go to www.childrensactionplan.govt.nz
Ros Rice, Executive Officer NZCOSS