A new child-centred, stand-alone ministry with a new Chief Executive is to be established in April 2017 to focus on the care and protection of vulnerable children and young people.
Prime Minister John Key has also announced the establishment of a new ministerial portfolio, Minister for Vulnerable Children.
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley will be appointed as Minister for Vulnerable Children effective from April 2017.
Mrs Tolley says cross-agency advice from the State Services Commission, Treasury and MSD has recommended that, given the significance and scale of the proposed reforms to state care and protection, a stand-alone department is most likely to provide a single point of accountability, clear organisational focus and the ability to attract strong leadership.
She says this reflects the advice given by the Minister's independent expert panel, and has been agreed by Cabinet.
The new department will be named the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki. It will be reviewed after two years to ensure it is working as it should and that it is delivering the expected results for children and young people.
Mrs Tolley says the new ministry will focus on five core services – prevention, intensive intervention, care support services, transition support and a youth justice service aimed at preventing offending and reoffending, and will have the ability to directly purchase vital services such as trauma counselling as soon as they are needed by children.