Call to share information on vulnerable children

Dominion Post 11 Feb 2012
Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills is calling on the Government to introduce laws to allow services caring for vulnerable children to share information without requiring consent from parents or guardians. While presenting his submission to the Green Paper on Vulnerable Children to a crowd in Havelock North yesterday, Dr Wills said New Zealand needed an equivalent to legislation introduced in New South Wales in 2009. “Information sharing means that if Pam [a service worker] is worried about a child and I’m worried about a child, currently without parent consent I can’t ring Pam and say, `Pam I’m looking after this child, tell me about her’, and she can’t ring me.” Child, Youth and Family could share information with others, which was beneficial but did not go far enough, said Dr Wills, a Hawke’s Bay paediatrician. Under Chapter 16A of the New South Wales Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, government agencies and authorised NGOs are required to share information with or without parents’ consent.