Release of the Independent Children’s Monitor’s initial monitoring report 1 July to 30 September 2019 – published 27 January 2020
This is the first report of the Independent Children’s Monitor, covering the first three months of monitoring, from 1 July to 30 September 2019. It covers agency compliance with two regulations under the National Care Standards Regulations, Regulations 69 and 85, which are about allegations of abuse or neglect of children in care and how these are dealt with.
The National Care Standards Regulations came into effect on 1 July 2019.
There are currently four agencies being monitored under this legislation – Oranga Tamariki, Dingwall Trust, Open Home Foundation and Barnardos. The Independent Children’s Monitor is phasing in its monitoring function over time. Future reports will look at compliance with all aspects of regulations under the National Care Standards. These will include evidence of outcomes for children and young people as well as further practice enhancements implemented. There is also an expectation of performance improvement to comply with the National Care Standards Regulations.
The Monitor found, in summary:
- The four agencies have policies and processes to facilitate compliance with Regulations 69 and 85 which relate to reports of abuse and neglect of children and young people in care.
- All four agencies made enhancements to their internal self-monitoring and quality assurance processes to enable compliance with the National Care Standards Regulations.
- All four agencies stated that responses to cases of abuse or neglect of Māori children and young people in care or custody are largely done on a case by case basis, with Oranga Tamariki having made a significant number of practice enhancements to consider responses to Māori.
- In response to Regulations 69 and 85, for the three-month reporting period, children and young people in the care of Barnardos and Dingwall Trust did not disclose any incidents of abuse or neglect and therefore testing their compliance with those regulations was not required. Open Home Foundation had three allegations of abuse and neglect for children in care and Oranga Tamariki had 335.
- From the information provided and the accountabilities Open Home Foundation is responsible for, its practice is complying with Regulations 69 and 85.
- Oranga Tamariki is partially compliant with all aspects of the regulations being monitored. Its policies, procedures and practice guidance provide adequate information to support full compliance.
- In relation to the partial compliance by Oranga Tamariki, the information provided states the responses to allegations were mostly timely at the initial safety screen however the timeframes were not met consistently when completing assessments or investigations into the allegations. There were some data recording errors that required amendment and the child or young person was not always informed of the outcome of the investigation, if appropriate, as required by the Regulation.
- The information provided by the agencies outlines how they will comply with the National Care Standards Regulations as well as ensure enhanced outcomes for children and young people in their custody and care. This information is relevant as it demonstrates the agencies’ commitment to aim to achieve compliance from 1 July 2019.