The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 represents a significant change to child protection legislation since the Children, Young Persons and their families Act 1989. There are three key components:
- Joint accountability: Chief Executives from the Ministries of Education, Health, Justice, Social Development and the NZ Police must jointly develop and report against a vulnerable children’s plan to collectively achieve the Government’s priorities for vulnerable children.
- Child protection policies: certain state services and their contracted or funded providers of children’s services must adopt child protection policies, covering the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect. The purpose of the child protection policies is to provide information and processes to improve the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect.
- Safe children’s workforce: the Act introduces new requirements to ensure children are safe with the people who work with them by implementing: a new standard safety check for all paid staff in the government-funded children’s workforce, workforce restrictions preventing people with certain serious convictions from roles that involve working alone with, or with primary responsibility for, children. This restriction is subject to an exemptions process.
You can read our analysis of the development of the framework here: