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New ministry pleases commissioner

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/08/2016

The new Ministry for Vulnerable Children is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to "get it right" and make a real difference, Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft says.

The government announced the new ministry on Thursday, with Social Development Minister Anne Tolley in charge of it.

It will be up and running in April next year, replacing Child, Youth and Family.

"What I saw in the Youth Court was that the ages of 0-2 and 0-5 are where the battle is won or lost," Judge Becroft told RNZ on Friday.

"That is where we must put all our energy and resources.

"This is a once-in-our-lifetime opportunity to get it right - it won't be perfect but I'm absolutely sure that we're committed to a much better system than we've got now."

Judge Becroft said he'd had significant input.

"There's an open door, I couldn't ask for much more."

Ms Tolley says the ministry will be strongly focused on vulnerable children, not all children, and will play close attention to Maori children.

"Six out of 10 children in care are Maori, and we've got to make this system work for them," she said.

"We will be setting some very bold targets."

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