Source: (2001) International Social Work. 44(2):163-178.

According to Joy Ernst, child welfare practice in New Zealand has in recent years sparked the interest of child welfare practitioners in North America, Europe, and Australia. Many are keen on the family involvement and autonomy fostered by the Family Group Conference and the kinship care placement philosophy embedded in New Zealand’s Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act of 1989. The 1989 Act markedly changed child welfare practice in New Zealand. Those changes resulted from a convergence of factors relating to (1) the increased recognition of the culture of the indigenous Maori and (2) the trend towards privatization of social services. Ernst describes features of the 1989 Act and suggests insights that child welfare practitioners in other countries can draw from examination of practice under the Act.