Policy '20 years in the making'

By Simon Collins

Dr Ian Hassall is the country's first Commissioner for Children. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Dr Ian Hassall is the country's first Commissioner for Children. Photo / Paul Estcourt

The country's first Children's Commissioner, Dr Ian Hassall, says the new paper is "the beginnings of a policy for children which we have been advocating for 20 years".

"This is the first time it's been set out in this way. I think all the aspects are there in outline."

Another former Children's Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro said she proposed a "red alert early warning system" to the Labour Government in 2007. But it was not implemented.

"If there was a red flag raised by any professional who had an involvement with that child, they could go somewhere and find whether an alert had ever been raised for that child," she said. "The idea was to create a central database using the National Health Information number. That's where we ran into issues around privacy."

But yesterday even NZ Council for Civil Liberties chairman Batch Hales supported more information sharing - as long as it was limited to professionals directly involved with a family and was not held in a database.

"It should be a discussion, so the teacher could ring Child, Youth and Family and CYF then should release information to the teacher."

On the web

childrensactionplan.govt.nz
facebook.com/greenpaperonchildren

- NZ Herald

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