About the Children's Act

The Children's Act 2014 made sweeping changes to the law, to increase our ability to protect vulnerable tamariki and help them thrive, achieve and belong.

4 girls laughing in front of a colourful wall

The legislation includes:

  • 1 new stand-alone Act, the Children's Act 2014
  • amendments to the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989

The heads of 6 government departments are now accountable for protecting and improving the lives of vulnerable 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 tamariki, unless they are granted an exemption.

These changes are about creating a better life for the most vulnerable tamariki in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Read the Act at www.legislation.govt.nz

Sector specific guidance

Agencies have prepared extra advice about the children’s workforce changes:

Education sector

The Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | 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:

Teacher registration FAQ

Health sector

The Manatū Hauora | Ministry of Health has provided guidance and FAQs for health sector providers:

Health sector providers FAQ

Justice sector

Information for the justice sector:

Te Tāhū o te Ture | Ministry of Justice 

Tertiary Education Organisations

Vocational trainees and placement students working with 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:


Universities New Zealand

Published: March 28, 2017 · Updated: September 8, 2023