The Independent Children’s Monitor (the Monitor) was established on 1 July 2019 and is currently in the early stages of setting up how it works. The Monitor was created following the Expert Advisory Panel report on Modernising Child, Youth and Family in 2015, which advised that greater oversight of New Zealand’s child protection system was needed. As a result of the report, and the creation of Oranga Tamariki in April 2017, the role of the Independent Children’s Monitor was formalised in legislation.
The Ministry of Social Development was appointed by the Minister for Children as the Monitor in April 2019. The Monitor operates independently from the Ministry's core business.
Better outcomes for children and families
Working from an outcomes-based approach, the Monitor will look at how the Oranga Tamariki System enhances the wellbeing and life outcomes for the children and young people it comes in contact with. Central to this is the important role whānau, hapū and iwi play in working with Oranga Tamariki to achieve positive experiences and outcomes.
The Monitor's approach
The Monitor’s outcomes approach is based on the Government’s six wellbeing outcomes (Hua) from the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. It is currently in the initial stages of developing it's monitoring and assessment framework and how it will work. You can subscribe to receive updates on the Monitor's progress. You can also visit the Ministry of Social Development website to find out more about the Government’s work programme to strengthen oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System, which includes changes to the functions of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.
The Monitor's role and values
The Monitor's role
The Monitor’s role is to support the system caring for tamariki and rangatahi in state care. It does this by monitoring, assessing and providing assurance of the extent and quality of compliance under the Oranga Tamariki Act (1989) and the associated National Care Standards Regulations (2018). This includes:
- monitoring compliance with statutory obligations, current and future regulations, standards and guidelines for practice and service
- monitoring the performance of complaints mechanisms
- supporting Oranga Tamariki and its approved providers to work towards continuous service improvements by identifying areas of high performance and areas for improvement
- sharing insights with relevant chief executives and any approved organisations
- making deeper enquiries into particular issues or themes emerging from monitoring, complaints or critical incidents
- reporting to relevant Ministers and to the public.
In carrying out its role, it will place the wellbeing and interests of children at the centre of how it functions and ensure that tamariki and rangatahi are seen within the context of their whānau and family.
Arran Jones, Executive Director
Arran Jones is the lead of the Independent Children’s Monitor.
Arran has held a number of leadership roles at the Ministry of Social Development, including with Legal Services, the Office of the Chief Executive and Work and Income. He also helped establish Oranga Tamariki, having led a workstream within the Investing in Children programme, and returns to the Ministry of Social Development having been the Head of Privacy at ACC.
Arran sees the role as a way of contributing to the wellbeing of our tamariki and rangatahi.
“The Independent Children's Monitor has an important role to play in improving the lives of children and young people. Getting this right requires us to listen to many voices, including those of carers, communities, and the children and young people who need a system that supports them to live their best lives. Reflecting those voices in our mahi, and in how we hold each other to account, is big part of our challenge. It’s also how the Monitor can provide the greatest support to Oranga Tamariki and ultimately the children and young people in their care.”
The Monitor's values
Our values have been developed within the context of our work and reflect our principles of being child-centred with a te ao Māori lens across all that we do. Our values are how we behave every day, with each other and with those we are working with.
Kia Māia – Courageous
The Independent Children’s Monitor is brave, bold, capable and confident.
This means we:
- stand up for what is right
- tell the truth, even when it isn’t popular.
Manaaki – Respectful
The Independent Children’s Monitor shows respect and cares for others.
This means we:
- respect diversity of thought, action and culture
- have a child centred and te ao Māori perspective woven throughout all our work
- look out for each other and make work a safe place for our colleagues.
Kia Pono, Kia Tika - Trustworthy
The Independent Children’s Monitor is honest and genuine and does the right thing.
This means we:
- admit when we don’t know the answer, and then work to find it out
- cross-check our data
- do what we say we will, and communicate in a timely manner if we can’t.
Kia Huritao – Reflective
The Independent Children’s Monitor is considered and reflective
This means we:
- learn from experience, value feedback and always look for opportunities to improve
- take the necessary time to make the best decisions we can
- never assume we know what is best.
The Independent Children’s Monitor has published its Outcomes Framework, which represents the Monitor’s perspective of what matters for tamariki, rangatahi and whānau in the Oranga Tamariki system, now and into the future. The Monitor has taken an outcomes-based approach and holistic te ao Māori lens towards the development of the Framework. It draws upon the Government’s six wellbeing outcomes from the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and incorporates key dimensions from the Whānau Ora Outcomes Framework and the Oranga Tamariki Outcomes Framework.
The Framework will initially be used to measure outcomes for tamariki and rangatahi in relation to the delivery of the National Care Standards and provides:
- assurance that tamariki and rangatahi in the care and custody of the state are being appropriately cared for against the NCS Regulations
- an indication that positive outcomes for tamariki, rangatahi and whānau wellbeing are being achieved.
Relationship Management Model
The Monitor’s Relationship Management Model (RMM) outlines the relationship management model that specifically supports monitoring activity and engagement. There are four key components that drive and underpin this model and broader engagement – our design principles, our values, our commitment to Māori and our tikanga approach.
Other oversight agencies you can contact
Office of the Children’s Commissioner
The Children’s Commissioner provides information and advice on children’s rights and guidance on dealing with a range of issues. More information can be found on the Office of the Children's Commissioner website or you can call the Commission’s Child Rights Advice line on 0800 224 453.
Office of the Ombudsman
The Ombudsman helps the community in its dealings with government agencies and handles complaints against government agencies. Visit the Ombudsman New Zealand website for more information. For advice or guidance on making a complaint call 0800 802 602.