Researching the policies of all the political parties, we were unable to find any direct mention to children in care or foster care support. So our CEO, Linda Surtees, asked the portfolio holders for children from National (Minister Anne Tolley) and Labour (Jacinda Ardern) what caregivers could expect from a National or Labour government over the next three years. Here are the responses she received:
“Under National’s leadership we now have a completely new child-centred operating model led by the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
I’ve been responsible for setting out a four to five year major transformation programme to build a more child-centred care and protection system, focused on harm and trauma prevention, early intervention, quality care, and support to independence.
As I’ve said from day one, if we’re going to get this right we can’t rush it and we can’t do it alone. It’s going to take all of us – government, NGOs, iwi, caregivers, communities, families and young people to make this work.
I know that caregivers are an essential part of the support we provide for vulnerable children and young people. You do a fantastic job, opening your hearts and your homes to help many children and young people.
Under a National led government we’ve provided funding in Budget 2017 to address some of the concerns caregivers have raised.
We’re investing $26.4 million over four years to support caregivers and help you with the important work you do to provide the care children and young people have told us they need – safe, loving stable homes.
It’ll provide training for the skills and knowledge needed to improve the stability and quality of care for children and young people, and it will help towards recruiting a larger, more diverse group of caregivers.
This funding will also target support to those children and young people with more complex needs and challenging behaviour because of their experiences of trauma and disruption.
In June we launched a new after-hours phone line pilot in six sites around the country to connect caregivers to a social worker who is able to provide advice and guidance.
A three-month peer support trial is underway in Palmerston North to provide caregivers with an opportunity to connect with other caregivers and build peer support networks.
A new handbook has been developed for caregivers – it’s a practical and useful guide to accessing health and education services. We also want to develop national care standards for all caregivers.
If re-elected, a National led government will continue on the clear path we’ve set out under the new Ministry. We want to continue to support caregivers and give them the help they need to support our most vulnerable children and young people.
National remains focused on putting our most vulnerable children and young people at heart of everything we do. We have to do everything we can to give them a safe, stable and loving home so they can live happy, successful lives. It’s what they’ve asked for, and it’s the very least they deserve.”
“Jacinda has long believed that there should be greater support for foster parents who provide such a valuable service to the children they care for and the wider community. There are great examples of support already offered by organisations such as Youth Horizons, and in Government Labour will look at how we can support foster parents more adequately.”
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