June 20, 2022
Commission role critical for children’s voices
A former chief social worker says the role of the Children’s Commissioner needs to remain independent.
Child Poverty Action Group social welfare spokesperson Mike O’Brien has joined growing dissent over Oranga Tamariki Amendment Bill.
Last week the Childrens Commissioner, Judge Frances Eivers, said the proposed changes would take away not only her independence but her advocacy role.
Dr O’Brien says while much in the bill is positive, the Select Committee fell short in its consideration of the commissioner’s role.
“The original proposal was just for a board and now there will be a chief children’s commissioner as part of that board so that’s a shift but really the independence of the children’s commissioner is absolutely critical to making sure children’s voices are heard and the issues of children remain central to a whole range of policy areas,” he says.
Dr O’Brien says the law makers haven’t done enough to get the views of the children and young people who will be affected by the legislation.