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Issue No. 412 April 2017

Children first for new ministry

Protecting those who need it is a calling for police staff, says Assistant Commissioner Allan Boreham, on secondment to the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
Photo: Al Guthrie

The launch of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki presents a golden opportunity for Police staff protecting vulnerable youngsters - and it is drawing heavily on Police expertise and experience.

This new ministry employs a whole-of-sector approach, acting in partnership with other social sector agencies and keeping the welfare of children central.

On 1 April it replaced Child Youth and Family and other social sector functions, after recommendations from an expert advisory panel which counted Commissioner Mike Bush among members.

Assistant Commissioner Allan Boreham, on a three-year secondment to the new ministry as Deputy Chief Executive Youth Justice, says the operating model is closely aligned to Police’s, with core services including Prevention Services and a prevention ethos pervading its work.

In this, Allan says, there are parallels to the shifts Police has made since 2009 in embedding prevention as a driving force throughout the leadership, mindset and practice of the organisation.

“There’s a desire for more of a see-through approach, more of a focus on outcomes for the child and ensuring the success of the child, rather than each agency completing their individual transactions and handing off,” he says.

“To my way of thinking Police is moving into that space already. It’s a great time for another agency charged with protecting the more vulnerable parts of the community to be there so we can grow our work together.”

The emphasis on partnership provides an opportunity to refresh thinking around the Youth Crime Action Plan.

“Year on year we’ve seen reductions in offending, until recently when there has been an uplift coinciding with a general uplift in offending.

“It’s an opportunity for Police, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, and Justice to work more closely together, do more of what we think works well and see if there are other things we can add so we can again achieve reductions.”

Of immediate relevance to Police staff is the 1 April change which included 17-year-olds in the care and protection system, though they will not be included in the youth justice system until 2019.

“That’s what’s going to most directly impact frontline staff when they’re dealing with young people at risk.”

The other core Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki services are Intensive Intervention, Care Support, Youth Justice and Transition Support.

The ministry is making use of a range of Police expertise, with other staff also on secondment or working jointly on projects.

“I think this highlights how Police are seen to be good leaders, and how supportive our Commissioner has been in sharing that leadership across the wider government sector,” says Allan.

He sees his current role as an extension of his policing commitment to protect those who need it. “I see it as a calling. It’s what we do as Police,” he says.

See mvcot.govt.nz for more about the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.


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