The Government’s sudden proposition to finally raise the age of young people under CYF care comes just months after it voted down attempts to do exactly that, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“It also comes just days after a petition calling for an increase attracted thousands of signatures.
“It is pleasing but somewhat bizarre that Anne Tolley is suddenly talking about increasing the age at which Child, Youth and Family ends care for young New Zealanders, when just last year the Government voted against an amendment to legislation that would have extended the age.
“And it is curious that the Minister now says she would be ‘disappointed’ if the expert panel involved in a review of CYF recommended an increase to just 18 years rather than 20. There is – and was - nothing stopping her from making that law.
“Labour has been pushing to extend support for children in foster care for some time now. Our petition calling for the age of care and protection launched earlier this week, has already gathered 21,000-plus signatures.
“Under current laws we have young people sent packing when they turn 17, leaving some of our most vulnerable kids – many who will still be at school – without adequate support.
"The Government has had any number of opportunities to change the law before now, and we have put plenty of those opportunities on the table. While it is good that the Minister finally accepts there is an issue, we won't stop pushing until the votes are cast and the law is changed," Jacinda Ardern says.