Rotorua first site for Children's Teams

Saturday 13 October 2012, 2:55PM
By Paula Bennett

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced the first Children's Team will be trialled in Rotorua to local community groups today.

"A vital initiative in the White Paper will be local Children's Teams that bring professionals together to make individualised plans for vulnerable children."

"These teams will in most cases be acting before children have suffered serious abuse, so we can get ahead of the problem," says Mrs Bennett.

The Children's Teams will include a lead professional who has responsibility for the plan, to make sure it stays on track and the child accesses the services they need.

"We have chosen Rotorua as one of the two first sites to trial these teams because it is an area that would benefit from this joined up approach."

In the year to April there were 4,683 notifications of concern about children in Rotorua and 529 substantiated cases of abuse. 

"We won't be replicating any of the good work that is already happening on the ground, instead we will integrate the best of what works and provide a common framework to follow," says Mrs Bennett.

The White Paper also outlines how regional leadership will be introduced in the form of Children's Directors. They will be responsible for co-ordinating services for vulnerable children.

"One of the crucial elements for this role will be the ability to move funding around to where it's needed, so if the Director sees gaps in services, they can fill them and their focus will be on vulnerable children."

Minister Bennett also announced Former Police Commissioner Howard Broad will lead the review of Child, Youth and Family's complaints process.

"I am confident Mr Broad will bring all of his skill and experience to bear when undertaking this independent review and I look forward to his findings."

The review will get underway immediately and will be completed by the end of 2013.