Daryl Brougham flew into Wellington to hear the announcement in person, armed with the book he wrote about his own experience as a child abused in foster care, who went on to become a social worker himself.
While Anne Tolley explained children will now have a stronger voice, Mr Brougham is sceptical.
"The only difference I saw today was that the Government announced that they will give the social worker more time with the families to make it more child-centred -- but other than that, nothing's changed," he said.
Mr Brougham is also concerned that the overhaul is expected to take five years to implement.
"From zero to five I went through emotional abuse, physical, you name it," he explained.
"I had been moved so many times -- even to another country [in] a radical overhaul taking five years. You imagine what that five years looks like to a child.
"A radical overhaul should be done -- tomorrow."
But iwi who are already working with CYF say they're making progress.
Tuhoe has been working with the Government since 2014 to resettle kids back within the tribe. They've looked after 40 cases in the last two years.
"All the money in the world will not fix this issue -- so it can't be the basis for an approach to looking after the tamariki," Kirsti Luke, of Te Uru Taumata, said.
"Whānau being whānau is the answer to the care of these children."
Foster parent Mike Hughes doesn't think raising the age of state care goes far enough.
"Extending the age to 18 still reinforces the fact their care and protection is temporary -- kids need to be able to adopt foster parents as their own parents," he said.
He says although there'll be more money for children in state care, its emotional welfare they need more of.