13 Dec 2016

CYF overhaul bill passes first reading

8:06 pm on 13 December 2016

A second bill overhauling Child, Youth and Family as it becomes the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, has passed its first reading in Parliament.

The new ministry is expected to be set up from April next year.

Many parties - including Labour, the Greens and the Māori Party - voted against the bill over concerns the legislation could remove more Māori children from their family and wider whānau.

The current Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act gives priority to placing a child with a member of their family or wider hapū and, if that is not possible, then to someone who has the same tribal, racial or cultural background as the child.

The proposed legislation, being introduced in the next couple of weeks, removes that priority, and instead puts emphasis on the child's safety.

The legislation also raises the age of the Youth Court to include most 17-year-olds, and allows people to remain in state care up to the age of 21.

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