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Safer children’s workforce guidelines launched

L-r: Cathy Holland (Hamilton Children’s Team Director), Anthea Simcock (CEO Child Matters) and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley today launched two new guidelines for agencies and organisations working with children as part of the Government’s Children’s Action Plan.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley chats with Dr Polly Atatoa-Carr Associate Director of the Growing Up in New Zealand study and a Public Health Physician in the Child Health Unit at Waikato Hospital while in the foreground are Waikato DHB interim chief operating officer Brett Paradine and Planning and Funding senior project officer Ruth Rhodes.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley chats with Dr Polly Atatoa-Carr Associate Director of the Growing Up in New Zealand study and a Public Health Physician in the Child Health Unit at Waikato Hospital while in the foreground are Waikato DHB interim chief operating officer Brett Paradine and Planning and Funding senior project officer Ruth Rhodes.

The Guidelines; Safer Recruitment, Safer Children and Safer Organisations, Safer Children advise on how employers of the children’s workforce can consistently recruit safe people to work with children, and how to develop good child protection policies that enable their workers to better identify and respond to the needs vulnerable children.

Mrs Tolley launched the guidelines in Hamilton with local leaders, community groups and those setting up the new Hamilton Children’s Team.

“Every child has the right to be safe from abuse and neglect and these guidelines will help us build a stronger culture of child protection across New Zealand where the safety and security of children is paramount.

“By far the majority of our children’s workforce is safe and conscientious but we know predators target opportunities to be around children – these guidelines provide practical steps to help organisations to manage against that risk,” said Mrs Tolley.

The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 requires state sector agencies who work with children, and the organisations they fund to have child protection policies in place and will phase in a requirement for all paid children’s workers to be safety checked in a consistent way.

Mrs Tolley paid tribute to Child Matters for co-producing the safety checking guidelines Safer Recruitment, Safer Children.

“The Children’s Action Plan is about government and communities working together to better support vulnerable children. These guidelines are an example of that innovative partnership.”

“The Hamilton Children’s Team will be the country’s first large urban team following the establishment of Children’s Teams in Rotorua, Whangarei, Horowhenua/Ōtaki and Marlborough.

“When it is fully up and running, the Hamilton Children’s Team will be the first big team of frontline practitioners supporting around 1,400 vulnerable children and their families,” Mrs Tolley said.

“Hamilton is renowned for its strong community sector and as a result is well placed to test new initiatives being developed as part of the Children’s Action Plan.

The region will trial the Vulnerable Kids Information System (Viki) under an Approved Information Sharing Agreement as well as a new Hub triage process to better coordinate services and information for at risk children.

“Today’s launch marks exciting progress in a new children protection system for the country that will prioritise the needs of our most vulnerable children helping ensure they get the right services at the right time to be happy, healthy and safe,” said Mrs Tolley.

For more information on the Children’s Action Plan and guidelines: childrensactionplan

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