We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

Budget 2017 provides more assurance for kids in care

More funding for independent monitoring has been hailed by the Children’s Commissioner as a significant step forward for children in the care and protection and youth justice systems.

The Government has provided an increase of $0.5 million in Budget 2017, which will help cover up to 6.4 full-time staff positions for the 2017/18 year.

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Media release: Time to start moving on outdated children’s residences - Children’s Commissioner

The conditions for children in many of New Zealand’s secure residences are prison-like, dated and bleak, and it’s time to move on better alternatives, Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says.

A new report from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner shows the care of young people in Oranga Tamariki residences is improving but fundamental changes are needed.

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State of Care 2017: A focus on Oranga Tamariki's secure residences

From July 2016 to March 2017, we found that Child, Youth and Family (CYF) residences generally met the standards that are required by the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

As far as we can establish, residences appear to be generally safe. However, we remain concerned about the variable quality of practice and the fundamental system issues that underpin this variability. As Oranga Tamariki takes over from the 1st April 2017, residences still fall far short of the new agency’s aspirations for them.

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Media release: New Zealand and Canterbury rugby to be applauded on new child-centred approach to mis

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft is congratulating the New Zealand and Canterbury rugby unions on a new approach to work better with young players accused of misconduct.

“It’s right that young people are held to account when they have breached the code of behaviour expected but how they are held to account is also critically important. We need to remember that we’re dealing with children, not grownups. Using an adult process is not appropriate for a young teenager.”

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Budget 2017 good news for Kiwi kids

The Family Incomes Package revealed in Budget 2017 has been welcomed by the Children’s Commissioner as good news for children living in families experiencing severe poverty.

“According to the Child Poverty Monitor released in December 2016, 85-90,000 Kiwi kids live in severe hardship. The latest changes to tax thresholds and assistance build on the benefit rate increases in 2016 to relieve the pressure for those Kiwis who are just getting by,” said Judge Andrew Becroft. 

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Media release – UN-funded report another reason to stop locking New Zealand children in police cells

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says a new United Nations-funded report is more compelling evidence why New Zealand should stop locking children in police cells.

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Limiting the use of Police cells to hold young people on remand

The Children's Commissioner is advocating that young people should no longer be able to be remanded into Police cells after their first court appearance.

Read more on the Children's Commissioner's submissions about police cells on the Children, Young Persons and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Bill.

Media release: Once in a lifetime opportunity to do better for New Zealand children and young people

The Children’s Commissioner says there will never be a better chance in our lifetimes to improve the lives of the children and young people who need it most than with the launch of the new Oranga Tamariki.

Read Judge Andrew Becroft's statement here.

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March 2017 newsletter: Keeping Oranga Tamariki legislation on track

We need to find a resolution to the growing debate about the role of whānau, hapū, iwi and wider family in caring for children and young people who have been removed from their usual caregivers.

Read the Commissioner's newsletter on the topic here.

Child Poverty Monitor

The fourth annual Child Poverty Monitor has been published. The Monitor is a joint project with the JR McKenzie Trust and Otago University and reports on various measures of poverty experienced by kiwi children.

Visit the Child Poverty Monitor website

Media statement: UN report on children's rights

Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft says he welcomes the latest UN report outlining how well New Zealand is upholding children’s rights and well-being.

"I’m reassured that an expert international Committee has so accurately identified what is needed to improve the lives of our children. They have made a number of very appropriate and considered recommendations," he said.


Read the Commissioner's full statement

Concerned about a child’s wellbeing?

If you’re concerned about the immediate wellbeing of a child or young person, call:

  • Police on 111
  • Child, Youth and Family on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459)

Looking for advice on children's rights?

Contact our Child Rights Advice Line by:

  • calling us on 0800 224 453 from 9am to 5pm Monday to Wednesday and 9am to 4pm on Thursdays. If you need an interpreter, just ask for ‘language line’ and the language you want when you call us
  • emailing advice@occ.org.nz

About the Commissioner

The current Children's Commissioner is Judge Andrew Becroft.

Before taking up the position on 1 July 2016 he was New Zealand's Principal Youth Court Judge.