You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Cost of CYF overhaul unknown

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/04/2016 Sarah Robson

Just how much extra money will be needed for the government's radical overhaul of Child, Youth and Family is still to be confirmed.

But the expert panel charged with coming up with a new system to better protect and care for vulnerable children has put the bill at more than $500 million by 2020.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley on Thursday unveiled a major package of reforms, including a new child-centric CYF operating model, which the government wants in place by the end of March next year.

Ms Tolley has acknowledged the new system will require additional funding, but it's not yet known just how much.

She said the government will have a better idea of the cost once more detailed work has been completed, but she put it in the "hundreds of millions of dollars".

The expert panel did its own estimates as part of its final report, saying an additional $524m of funding would be needed by 2020, but Ms Tolley was reluctant to say whether she thought those calculations were in the ballpark.

The new operating model will adopt the so-called "social investment approach", meaning sophisticated data and analysis will be used to identify the areas of highest needs and risks.

Early interventions - and therefore funding - would then be targeted accordingly to ensure children get the care and support they need when they need it.

"Targeted funding up front should reduce the social cost for these young people and our communities, as well as the long-term financial cost to taxpayers," Ms Tolley said.

Funding will "follow the child", meaning any additional support needed can be purchased directly - and immediately - from, for example, health, education and counselling services.

That could ultimately allow for the reallocation of funding in future years from the relevant departments.

Labour's children spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern said the success or failure of the new operating model will come down to whether or not it's properly resourced and she's not confident the government will be willing to spend the money needed.

Meanwhile, a question mark remains over whether the new operating model will remain part of the Ministry of Social Development, or whether it will become its own entity,

The State Services Commission is working on this and no decisions have yet been made.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon