Tackling child poverty and improving outcomes for children and young people are issues that many nations across the world are working to address, alongside New Zealand.
Hannah Kerr, Director Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, shared insights on the development and implementation of New Zealand’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy (the Strategy) at an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) workshop earlier this month.
The virtual workshop was organised to share good practices from Finland, New Zealand and Spain internationally, with particular focus on providing insights to support Ireland.
The workshop brought together relevant Irish stakeholders and peers from OECD countries to discuss practices to strengthen Ireland’s policy and governance arrangements.
Ireland will soon publish a refreshed National Framework on Children and Young People and establish a new Programme Office on Child Poverty and Child-wellbeing in the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister).
Hannah shared an overview of the Strategy along with insights on how New Zealand has approached key areas such as governance and accountability, taking an evidence-informed policy approach and promoting inter-departmental and inter-agency cooperation.
“It’s never ideal having to attend these international Zoom calls late at night but, overall, I think we shared some useful information for Ireland and other nations to factor into their own policy, planning and delivery.
“The role of Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction Group is to be a steward for the Strategy. We have an important measurement and monitoring role and we support the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction and Minister responsible for the Strategy to meet legislative requirements,” Ms Kerr says.
“We also support governance arrangements, provide advice that supports informed decision-making, and promote and communicate the outcomes and priorities under the Strategy within and outside government.
“While we don’t fund or deliver services directly, we do work closely with the agencies that do. In the Q&A session afterwards, there was a strong interest in understanding how we have been working across government under the leadership of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Ministers Group and at agency level via the Social Wellbeing Board, and by taking a Lead Agency Model approach,” she added.
“There was also a lot of interest in how we’ve created an enduring commitment in legislation to a child poverty reduction targets framework and the creation and implementation of a child wellbeing strategy.”
The information shared during the workshop will feed into a report with policy recommendations, in response to the findings of opportunities and barriers identified in the OECD Diagnostic Report “Towards a New Governance Framework for Children and Young People in Ireland”.