About the Children's Act
The Children's Act 2014 made sweeping changes to the law, to increase our ability to protect vulnerable children and help them thrive, achieve and belong.
The legislation includes:
- one new stand-alone Act, the Children's Act 2014
- amendments to the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989
The heads of six government departments are now accountable for protecting and improving the lives of vulnerable children or tamariki. The New Zealand Police, the Ministries of Health, Education, Justice, Social Development and Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children have new, legislated responsibilities.
Child protection policies have been adopted as standard by the agencies above along with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Housing), District Health Boards and school Boards of Trustees.
Safety checking (screening and vetting) of every person in both central and local government children’s workforce has now been introduced and people with serious convictions are prohibited from working closely with children or tamariki, unless they are granted an exemption.
These changes are about creating a better life for the most vulnerable tamariki or children in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Child protection policy
Oranga Tamariki Child Protection Policy
This policy sets out the responsibilities and organisational commitment of Oranga Tamariki to child protection. It outlines the expectations of how staff will respond to situations where serious harm, abuse, deprivation, ill-treatment or neglect are suspected or identified or when safety and wellbeing concerns for tamariki are identified.
Pdf, 270 KB
Sector specific guidance
Agencies have prepared extra advice about the children’s workforce changes:
The Ministry of Education has produced guides for providers in both the early childhood and schooling sectors:
Children’s Act 2014 requirements for schools and kura
The Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand has also produced an FAQ for registered teachers and those seeking registration status:
The Ministry of Health has provided guidance and FAQs for health sector providers:
Information for the justice sector:
Tertiary Education Organisations
Vocational trainees and placement students working with children or tamariki need to be safety checked under the Children's Act 2014. This includes nurses, social workers, doctors, paediatricians, youth counsellors and teachers.
Both the Tertiary Education Commission and Universities New Zealand have developed guidance for safety checking, including an implementation framework.
Information is available on the TEC and Universities New Zealand websites:
Published: March 28, 2017 · Updated: April 22, 2022