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Tolley 'in tears' over kids' stories

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/04/2016

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says she was brought to tears by the stories of some of the young people who shared their experiences as part of the expert review of Child, Youth and Family.

Ms Tolley has just announced a radical overhaul of the state's child protection agency in response to a far-reaching review by an expert panel, led by Dame Paula Rebstock.

As part of that review, a number of young people shared their experiences of CYF with both Ms Tolley and the expert panel.

"Many is the time they had me in tears in my office at the Beehive after they shared their experiences," Ms Tolley told an audience in Wellington on Thursday.

"This is happening to us, they said, but no one ever asks what we want or what is best for us. They told me that above all else they want a loving, safe and stable home and a chance for a bright future.

"And that is what they, and all of the vulnerable children and young people in this country deserve."

The new CYF operating model will be in place by the end of March next year. An independent youth advocacy service will be launched as part of that.

Ms Tolley said young people need to have a voice and deserve to be heard in the high-level, decision-making process.

The Youth Advisory Panel will also be re-established to provide advice and feedback as work on the new operating model continues.

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