Advice to Ministers

Review of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy

This briefing has been proactively released by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), on behalf of the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern.

The Children’s Act 2014 requires the Strategy to be reviewed within three years of its adoption. The review of the Strategy (the Review) is now complete, meeting its 18 August 2022 deadline.

The Review drew on the findings of various reports and evaluations, including an independent Process Evaluation, insights and themes from research reports and engagements that have been released since the development of the Strategy in 2019.

Some small-scale targeted engagement with key stakeholders was also undertaken during June and July 2022, including with children and young people themselves. Read the summary engagement reports

Scope of the Review

The Review focused on the priority areas and enablers that will help drive and prioritise government policy and harness collective action outside of government. It explored how the Strategy could be used to: 

  • drive and prioritise government policy 
  • encourage more collective ownership of the Strategy among communities and non-government organisations  
  • identify ways the monitoring and reporting arrangements could be made more efficient and effective 
  • better integrate Te Ao Māori concepts of wellbeing.  

Review findings and recommendations

The Review found that, overall, there is strong and ongoing support for the Strategy. Stakeholders agreed that the Strategy’s vision and outcomes remain sound and relevant and provide a strong basis for collective action to improve the wellbeing of children and young people.  They also noted that the indicators and measures could be improved over time, and that the current Strategy provides the means to do that. 

Based on this feedback and the other inputs into the Review, no changes will be made to the Strategy Framework (the vision, outcomes, principles and the approach of improving indicators and measures over time).  No further consultation will be required in relation to this Strategy Review.

However, the Review found that there is considerable scope to better support the implementation of the Strategy. It identified five key changes that will help the Strategy to be a catalyst for, and driver of, system change to support the wellbeing of all children and young people, including:

  • improved coordination and alignment across agencies and between agencies and communities 
  • strengthened child and youth leadership and ownership
  • stronger community and whānau leadership that drives action & contributes to a coherent implementation learning system
  • efficient and effective measurement, monitoring and reporting
  • more intentional steps to embed Te Ao Māori concepts of wellbeing into the Strategy implementation.

The Review also noted that central government needs to continue to evolve how it works with iwi/Māori and communities at different levels. This includes a shift towards implementing more whānau-centred, community-led and centrally-enabled approaches.

There was strong support for focusing on fewer actions overall. Four priority areas were identified for the next phase of the Strategy’s implementation:

  • reducing child poverty and mitigating the impacts of socio-economic disadvantage 
  • enhancing child and whānau wellbeing in the first 1000 days 
  • addressing racism, discrimination and stigma 
  • enhancing the mental wellbeing of children and young people (new priority).

Each of the priority areas will have a Lead Chief Executive/s, who will act as system convenor to help drive policy and investment decisions and support implementation.

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