A well-overdue revamp of Child, Youth and Family cannot be just another cost cutting exercise, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“Labour has been pushing for a review for some time. It was part of our policy at the election.
“Any number of concerns have been raised, not only about ongoing resourcing issues, but also about whether CYF is equipped and supported to do what it is tasked to do – improving the lives of vulnerable young Kiwis.
"While we support a review taking place, some of the language around the process is disturbing, particularly Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s terminology of an ‘investment approach’.
“This is the same language that was used when Paula Bennett went on a cost cutting exercise through work and income. The wellbeing of children should come first, not ideology.
“For example, the review includes ‘consideration of the costs and benefits of increasing the age of leaving care.’
“Under current laws a 17-year-old is regarded as no longer being a child and no longer in need of care and protection. That is the youngest age of discharge from the statutory care system in the western world, and needs to change. It’s not about cost, it’s about doing the right thing and that goes for the entire review.
“While Ms Tolley seems to be focused on how to do more with less, Paula Rebstock and other panel members must ensure that, rather than just shuffling deck chairs and simply re-distributing funds, this review makes a real difference,” Jacinda Ardern says.