New Zealand has a new ministry, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, as the Children, Young Persons and Their Families (Advocacy, Workforce and Age Settings) Amendment Act 2016
came into effect last Saturday.
The establishment of the ministry, which will be referred to as Oranga Tamariki, also brings with it several legislative changes which could affect family lawyers and their work.
Among the changes is the inclusion of 17-year-olds within section 2, 3, and 3A definitions of "young person" in care and protection matters. The Oranga Tamariki CEO has also largely replaced the statutory functionary references to a social worker.
Also included in the new section 11 are strengthened provisions about children’s views and participation to enable support persons to attend court proceedings and FGCs to assist the child or young person to participate or express their views.
Section 7 also requires the Oranga Tamariki chief to provide children and young persons the opportunity to express their views to contribute to the process and improve service.
Oranga Tamariki will focus on prevention, intensive intervention, care support, youth justice, and transition support into adulthood, said Anne Tolley, minister for children.
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