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

October 2016 Newsletter

Newsletters

7 October 2016

160701 Andrew Becroft Welcome 32

Introducing Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft

On 1 July Judge Andrew Becroft became New Zealand's seventh Children's Commissioner.

He was welcomed with an emotional pōwhiri at Pipitea Marae in Thorndon - where the previous Commissioner Dr Russell Wills handed over the reins.

Judge Andrew Becroft has described the time since as a 'roller-coaster'. Hear why in his message via this link.

Commissioner's top three priorities

Judge Becroft has set out some immediate priorities for the first part of his term as Commissioner:

  1. Constructive input into the ‘Investing in Children’ (IIC) work and the re-design of the prevention, intervention and youth justice and care systems for our most vulnerable children.
  2. Influencing the decision to include 17 year olds in the youth justice system.
  3. Achieving better outcomes for tamariki Māori by promoting better engagement and partnership with whānaū, hapu and iwi.

Read more about the Commissioner's priorities Read about the statutory functions of the OCC

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Reporting to the UN on children's rights

Late last month the Children's Commissioner, a group of NGOs and a delegation from the Government travelled to Geneva to discuss New Zealand's progress on upholding children's rights.

New Zealand signed up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) in 1993.

It was a rigorous hearing and the Government was questioned on a variety of issues for New Zealand children. The Committee's final report is due to be published soon. Read the commissioner's report to the UN

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Why raising the youth justice age matters

New Zealand is one of just a handful of countries around the world that still treats 17-year-olds as adults in the justice system. Along with many others, the Children's Commissioner strongly believes this needs to change. Read the Commissioner's six reasons for raising the age in the document.

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So what does 'child-centred' mean anyway?

Join our first ever online presentation

"Child-centred thinking" is a hot topic in the public sector, as agencies prepare to work together in the new child-centred operating model that will replace CYF. But what exactly does "child-centred" mean, and how does it apply to the wider policy process?

Our staff have been presenting to a variety of government and non-government organisations over the last few months - aiming to demystify the term and get people thinking about what they can do to elevate the interests of children.

We'll be doing a live version of the presentation on our Facebook page on Tuesday 11 October at 11am.

It will also be available to view on our Facebook page later if you can't view live.

Read more about what child-centred means

Looking for info & stats on how kiwi kids are doing?

Visit our new StatsOnKids page

We're often asked for information on how well (or not) children and young people are doing in New Zealand.

So we've created a page with some basic info and data on areas like safety, education and health.

Watch this space as we add more over time. Any suggestions for areas you'd like to see on the page to k.logan@occ.org.nz

Visit StatsOnKids

Media bites

Judge Becroft has featured in a number of media stories and profile pieces since taking up the job of Commissioner. Here's a small selection:

E-tangata: “Gidday, Judge. How’re you going?”

TVNZ Q and A: Andrew Becroft moves from youth justice to advocate for all children

Dominion Post: Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft on catching children before they fall

Stuff: What's in a name?

NZ Herald: Children's Commissioner will not use English name of new ministry

RNZ Sunday Morning: Judge Becroft and Anton Blank discuss UNCROC

The Nation: Interview with Andrew Becroft

Stuff: Children's Commissioner assures Indian leaders over violence

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Above: Children's Commissioner meets with members of the Auckland Indian community to discuss youth justice. Picture: Lawrence Smith/Fairfax NZ

Latest submissions

CYPF (Advocacy, Workforce, and Age settings) Amendment Bill (2016) - July

In this submission we said the Office supports the direction of the final report from the Expert Advisory Panel and the Government’s objective of reforming the care and protection and youth justice systems to ensure they are child-centred.

This bill is the first in a series of legislative changes to give effect to these reforms.

Our submission says the bill is a positive development, but we are concerned that it does not go far enough to ensure the new operating model is child-centred.

Children riding bikes on footpaths - August

Recently the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee asked us to gather children's views on biking on footpaths. This was a result of a petition to the House by Joanne Clendon who is calling for a change to road rules to allow certain people, including children, to bike on paths.

Children in our survey were unaware it was illegal to cycle on footpaths and the majority supported a change to the law.

General submissions are now open for this petition and close on 12 October 2016.