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Our History

How we started

In the early 1990s the need for education to prevent child abuse became very apparent with the 1991 death of two-year-old Delcelia Witika and the publicity surrounding this tragedy. Delcelia did not die from one violent event, but from a prolonged period of inhumane violence and neglect.

It appeared that there was no consistent education of professionals, and that there was a significant gap in the training of the people who were supposed to be caring for and looking out for our young people.

As a result of this realisation, Anthea Simcock, a child therapist at Parentline, undertook research to verify this assumption and to determine a path forward to dealing with this issue. The research clearly showed that there was indeed a lack of specific knowledge and skills around child protection, and that there was strong interest in gaining such skills. It was concluded that training in how to recognise and respond to child abuse is a vital ingredient in ensuring the safety of children in New Zealand.

With the support of Parentline, a new national trust, "Institute for Child Protection Studies", now trading as Child Matters, was established to focus on training key adults in the community to protect children - to make sure that those who could have saved children like Delcelia not only know what to do, but have the courage and determination to do so.

Anthea Simcock, now retired was the founding Chief Executive. Today, Child Matters is led by Jane Searle.

Since the delivery of the first programmes in 1994, Child Matters has continued to promote the need for all adults to take responsibility to protect children and to have the knowledge to do so and has provided a range of programmes and resources to support this.

Some Highlights of the Journey

1993 Registered as PTE with NZQA
1994 First Course
1999 First major publication: ‘Safe not Sorry’
2000 Completion of Research thesis on CPS
2000 Winner “Most Innovative Provider of Adult Education”
2001 “Highly Commended” Business Excellence Awards
2001 Rebranded as CPS Training
2001 CPS Unit Standards in child protection registered on NZQA framework
2002 NZQA Accreditation
2006 Achieved maximum 3 year audit with NZQA (One of only 27% of PTE's to receive this level of audit)
2006 10,000th Student enrolled
2007 Launch of book ‘How Can I Tell?’ Initial printrun 30,000 copies (sponsored by Neil Richardson and Verdict Communications)
2007 Awarded Student Component Funding for the Diploma in Child Protection Studies
2007 External Evaluation of CPS undertaken by Ruth Hungerford (Sponsored by Todd Foundation)
2008 British High Commission Contract Training staff for Pitcairn Islands
2009 3 Diploma Courses scheduled. Hamilton, Wellington and Invercargill
2010 CPS rebranded to “Child Matters”*
2012 Child Matters wins the Waikato Business Awards Not for Profit category
2013 CEO of Child Matters, Anthea Simcock, awared an Order of Merit
2017 Anthea Simcock retires, Jane Searle is appointed as CE

* Note, our legal name continues to be "Institute for Child Protection Studies"

Why Child Matters?

  • Because every child matters
  • Because child protection matters
  • Because education to protect children matters, and
  • Because as the specialist child protection education agency, we can provide training and advice on those child matters.

Child Matters Today…

Child Matters is New Zealand's specialist child protection training organisation

Over 30,000 people trained

24 programmes and 2 Diplomas around NZ each year, numerous workshops and customised training.

45 Organisations have mandatory CPS training as part of their child protection policy

But still with a long way to go......