Overall, there’s enormous support for a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, with people expressing high hopes and expectation that something real and tangible will come from it.
Development of the Strategy
The ‘Have your say’ summary report of the wider public engagement outlines what we heard and identifies the following key insights.
- Change is needed, and it’s needed now. There are high hopes that something real and tangible will come from the Strategy. There is also a sense of urgency to make some changes quickly.
- The Strategy needs to be bigger than the government of the day. People want to see action on some of the major systemic issues that have typically been considered “too hard” or “too big” to address.
- Local communities are integral to the success of the Strategy. The Strategy needs to empower communities and give them the tools to make the changes that work for them.
- The Strategy needs to have a focus on family and whānau wellbeing. The wellbeing of the family is essential to the wellbeing of the child, and we need to provide parents, families and whānau with the right kind of support at the right time.
- Te Tiriti o Waitangi should be a clear and empowering dimension of the Strategy. We heard that the Treaty and unique relationship of the Crown to tamariki and rangatahi Māori needs to be woven throughout the Strategy. We also heard we need to trust Māori to know and to deliver what works for Māori.
- The Strategy needs to focus on reducing inequity. People talked about inequity of outcomes for different groups and recognised that improving their wellbeing would require much more effort and focus. This included addressing institutional racism and discrimination.
- A good life is more than the bare basics. The children and young people we spoke with recognised their need for basic things, but were also hopeful that their future would include more than that. A minimum standard of living is not enough.
- Children and young people have a right to be included in the decision making process. There was a lot of advocacy for the inclusion and consideration of children and young people’s voice in the Strategy and in any decisions that impacts on them more widely.
- Invest in ensuring all kids get a great education. Quality education is key to future opportunities. Schools can have a major impact on children and young people’s wellbeing, for better or for worse.
- Focus on early intervention and specifically the first 1000 days. We need to provide services to children and young people before they reach crisis point. People also support a preventative approach, improving the journey both for the child and for their whānau in those very early years, including before birth.
- Government, agencies, and community services need to work together better. There was acknowledgement that some new initiatives will be needed, but that a lot can be achieved if government agencies and community services were able to communicate and collaborate more effectively.
Read the ‘Have your Say: Summary report’ which outlines findings from the full engagement process.
Review of the Strategy
The Children’s Act 2014 requires the Strategy to be reviewed within three years of its adoption. The Review was informed by a range of sources including: recent reporting, evaluations of specific work programmes, an independent process evaluation, and insights and themes from research and engagement undertaken since the development of the Strategy.
We also undertook some small-scale targeted engagement with key stakeholder groups, including with children and young people and with representatives of iwi and Māori.
Feedback of those partners and key stakeholders included:
- The vision and six outcomes set out in the Strategy remain sound and relevant, and provide a strong basis for collective action to improve the wellbeing of children and young people.
- The indicators and measures could be improved over time, and that the current Strategy enables that approach.
- While the implementation of the Strategy has worked well in some regards, there is considerable scope to support implementation more effectively.
- Changes to implementation are needed for the Strategy to be a catalyst for, and driver of, system change to support the wellbeing of all children and young people in Aotearoa New Zealand.