We operate under the Children’s Commissioner Act 2003
The Children's Commissioner's Act 2003 provides the Commissioner with a primary role to advocate for all New Zealand children under the age of 18 years. We fulfil our this function by working across multiple sectors, providing strategic advice and raising awareness about children's rights.
Advising on children's interests, rights and welfare
We work closely with many government agencies, providing child-centred policy advice. Our small size means we need to work strategically and influence others to deliver the services and support children need to thrive.
We make submissions to formal inquiries and hearings (e.g. Select Committees) and deal directly with Ministers on these matters. We also monitor the Government’s implementation of the Children's Convention.
Our strategic advice involves undertaking research and publishing working and position papers on current topics related to children’s interest, rights or welfare. We also work closely with a diverse range of community organisations, groups and individuals involved in aspects of improving the well-being of children.
Providing advice for individual children and young people
Our Child Rights Line provides free, independent advice to parents or other adults concerned about the rights of a child or young person. In 2015/16 we received 511 enquiries, with common issues including:
- school suspensions and expulsions
- access to housing
- concerns about Child, Youth and Family (CYF) / Oranga Tamariki
- immigration issues.
We give callers information and advice, and if necessary we refer them to specialist services. Where possible, we may advocate on their behalf to remove barriers and generate action. Some enquiries are referred to Oranga Tamariki as reports of concern. The calls also help us identify systemic issues which we work with others to resolve.