The first update on progress in implementing the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and its accompanying actions was released today.
The Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy together with an initial Programme of Action was launched in August 2019. The Programme of Action sets out the policies, initiatives, programmes and plans underway across government toward achieving the Strategy’s vision and outcomes. When launched, it brought together around 125 actions from across more than twenty government agencies.
The Monitoring Report and briefing to Ministers, released today, provide an update on progress for the year ending June 2020. They highlight how central government agencies are progressively aligning their activities to the outcomes in the Strategy. The Report also includes examples of how the Strategy is being socialised beyond central government, to help grow collective action.
Key highlights include:
- The Strategy has been well received by stakeholders, who see it as an important opportunity to align collective efforts to improve the lives of children and young people and their whānau.
- It establishes strong mechanisms for a coherent, cross-agency work and longer-term planning and reporting, and there are also initial indications that the Strategy’s impact is reaching beyond central government agencies.
- Overall, agencies are making good progress on implementing the actions, with most proceeding as planned. While delays to some actions have been unavoidable due to COVID-19, significant new actions and new investments have also been introduced.
- Some of the key achievements include:
- 384,000 families have had their incomes increased by $65 a week, on average, through implementation of the Families Package and other initiatives in Budget 2019
- 36,000 families benefited from the Best Start payment in its first year ($60 a week)
- 90 percent of decile 1-7 schools have opted in to the scheme to replace school donations from parent/caregivers
- zero-fee GP visits and prescriptions have been extended to 56,000 13 year olds
- the Free and Healthy School Lunch programme is now reaching around 13,000 students, and will be expanded to reach around 200,000 students by Term 3, 2021
- between July 2019 and May 2020, the total number of public houses increased by a net of 1,705 to 71,022, transitional housing places increased by a net of 327 to 3,116, and the number of those currently housed through the Housing First programmes increased by 256
- over 20,000 insulation and heating retrofits have been delivered since the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme was launched in July 2018
- as at June 2020, 86 percent of the 623 new Learning Support Coordinator roles had commenced working in schools. The Ministry of Education had also delivered more than 35 training events about these roles to boards of trustees and principals throughout the country
- 5,600 students at decile 5 secondary schools can now access School Based Health Services (nurses in schools), and the service available to 77,000 students in decile 1-4 secondary schools has been enhanced
- Despite the challenges and competing pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Strategy has remained a critical lens for the Government. Agencies continue to focus on the five priority policy areas: reducing child poverty; mitigating the impacts of socio-economic disadvantage; tackling racism, discrimination, and stigma; advancing wellbeing for 0-6 year olds, with a particular focus on the first 1,000 days; and extending whānau-centred approaches to improve child and youth wellbeing.
New actions and investment
The Strategy’s strong focus on reducing child poverty and mitigating the impacts of socio-economic disadvantage, improving the wellbeing of children and young people with greater needs, and reducing inequity of outcomes is even more important given the impacts of COVID-19. The Report outlines new investment made through Budget 2020 and the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which responds to the early and expected impacts of the pandemic on children and young people.
The Programme of Action will continue to evolve in response to new and emerging needs.