The Independent Children’s Monitor (the Monitor) was established on 1 July 2019. The Monitor 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 (children) and rangatahi (young people) 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 (children) and rangatahi (young people) are seen within the context of their whānau and family.
Melissa Gill is the Executive Director of the Independent Children’s Monitor.
Melissa has held a number of senior leadership roles at the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) across Corporate (in Legal Services and Health, Safety and Security), the Office for the Chief Executive (MSD) and Minister’s offices, and the former Family and Community Services. More recently she has been General Manager Health, Safety and Security at the Ministry of Justice.
Melissa sees her role as the opportunity to make a real difference for New Zealand’s vulnerable children. “Independent monitoring at a system wide level to identify areas of opportunity for continuous improvement is something that is vital to support Oranga Tamariki to do what it needs to do. It’s important we do this right and build a monitor that reflects what’s important to us – the people of Aotearoa.”
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 and be confident it is correct
- 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.
Due to Covid-19, recruitment for the below roles has been delayed. Please check this web page for updates and subscribe to our regular newsletter to keep updated with the mahi underway.
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has been given the job of building the Independent Children’s Monitor (the Monitor) and the initial phases of monitoring operations. Once new legislation is passed and the Monitor is well established the Government has decided, in principle, to transfer the monitoring function to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC).
The Monitor is a new organisation set up to provide independent oversight across the Oranga Tamariki System, monitoring those organisations that have custody and care of tamariki (children) and rangatahi (youth). The Monitor regularly reports to the Minister for Children with the results of the monitoring activity. Once released, the reports are freely available to the public.
Our values are Kia Māia – to be Courageous; Kia Pono, Kia Tika – to be Trustworthy; Manaaki – to be Respectful; and Kia Huritao – to be Reflective. Once recruitment gets underway, we will be looking for people who share these values to join us.
Our first cohort of recruitment will include the below roles.
Kaiwhakahaere Aroturuki – Manager Monitoring
The Kaiwhakahaere Aroturuki – Manager Monitoring is a leadership role in the monitoring team. In this role, you will lead a monitoring team who will go out to talk with, understand and record the experience of whānau, tamariki and rangatahi, family, professionals, carers and other groups and people in the community who work within the Oranga Tamariki System.
Kai Aroturuki Aporei – Principal Advisor Monitoring
The Kai Aroturuki Aporei – Principal Advisor Monitoring works with the Kaiwhakahaere Aroturuki –Manager Monitoring to develop the monitoring team’s work programme, maintain oversight of progress against the programme and trouble-shoot where necessary. They lead the data analysis process and work with the wider team to draft the Monitor’s reports.
Kai Tohutohu Matua Aroturuki/Kai Tohutohu Aroturuki – Senior Advisor/Advisor Monitoring
The Kai Tohutohu Matua Aroturuki/Kai Tohutohu Aroturuki – Senior Advisor/Advisor Monitoring are the public face of the Monitor. They spend most of their time working in small groups, engaging with the community to talk, understand and record the experience of whānau, tamariki and rangatahi, family, professionals, carers and other groups and people who participate in the Oranga Tamariki System. Understanding the context and intricacies of these engagements and the role of whakawhanaungatanga (establishing relationships) and manaakitanga (showing respect, generosity and care) in this work is essential.
Kaiarataki Tikanga – Practice Lead
The Kaiarataki Tikanga – Practice Lead is a senior role in the Independent Children’s Monitor’s team and is integral to strengthening practice across the front-line Monitor teams. They will provide professional leadership, influence and direction in order to maintain and enhance the level of monitoring excellence and capability.
Kaitātari Raraunga Matua – Senior Analyst Data and Insights
The Kaitātari Raraunga Matua – Senior Analyst Data and Insights will be responsible for managing a regular data download from external organisations and helping to synthesise this information with the data collected from the Monitor’s front-line staff. They will conduct data analysis and deliver insights and reporting material to enable the Monitor to identify areas of deeper focus, enable well-informed decision making, drive continuous improvement and provide accurate information on the performance of the Oranga Tamariki System.
Kairuruku Tira – Team Coordinator Monitoring
The Kairuruku Tira – Team Coordinator Monitoring is a key part of the support function for the Independent Children’s Monitor’s front-line teams. In this role, you will work across the monitoring teams and with the Managers Monitoring to plan, manage and coordinate team activities including travel arrangements and event coordination.
Please note, that once recruitment starts, given the evolving situation with COVID-19, we will work with short-listed applicants to determine the best approach for interviews, whether they are held in-person or virtually, and future work scenarios. The health and safety of our staff and the community is of the utmost importance.
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.