New Ministry of Vulnerable Children focuses on problems, not potential

The government’s choice of name for the new Ministry of Vulnerable Children is short-sighted and may further disadvantage the families it aims to help, the Public Service Association says.

"This is a poor decision on the government’s part, because it immediately sends worrying signals about what the new Ministry is there to do," PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says.

"It treats the children as a problem rather than looking at their potential.

"You might as well rename the Ministry of Health, the Ministry for Sick People - or instead of talking about the Ministry of Justice, start calling it the Ministry for Criminals.

"It will stigmatise the children who it’s aiming to help, and scare families who are trying to do the best for their kids."

Mr Barclay says it’s "illogical" for the new Ministry to deliver services to children and young people, while the Ministry for Social Development will continue to be responsible for the child’s family.

"This treats at-risk children completely separately from their family, whanau and caregivers - which our members tell us is the wrong way to go.

"This bizarre separation will create more silos when we understood the whole point of this review was remove them.

"While the two Ministerial portfolios are currently both held by Anne Tolley, that may not always be the case - further reinforcing the separation.

"We ask Mrs Tolley to urgently reconsider both the name and the structure of her ministry."

Mr Barclay says the PSA is looking forward to working with the chief executive, Grainne Moss.

"We hope to build a constructive and fruitful working relationship with her as our members at Child Youth and Family transition into the new Ministry structure."