How many of the reports made in relation to a risk of harm caused by abuse or neglect have been responded to in a timely manner?
This question was directed to Oranga Tamariki, who is responsible for completing the statutory investigation as part of the regulation. Regulation 69(2)(a) requires that the response to an allegation of abuse or neglect in care or custody must be prompt.
If an agency with tamariki in its custody receives an allegation, it must promptly16 report the allegation to Oranga Tamariki and provide initial safety for the child when the allegation is made. In the second quarter, only one agency reported an allegation of abuse and neglect. From the information provided Open Home Foundation was compliant with this part of the regulation.
Oranga Tamariki has provided the Monitor with data on its compliance for the 253 reviewed allegations of abuse or neglect with confirmed findings.
When an Oranga Tamariki site receives a report of an allegation of harm, it carries out a Safety and Risk screen, which is the initial safety response, within defined timeframes specified in its operational policies. The purpose is to review the safety of a child at that point in time and to determine what next steps or actions are required.
Reported data shows a high level of compliance with safety screen requirements with 85 percent completed within the required timeframe for the second quarter and 88 percent in the previous quarter.
Child and Family Assessments (C&FA) and Investigations, including those referred to Police under the Child Protection Protocol (CPP), are carried out after a Safety and Risk screen has been completed. Oranga Tamariki has defined timeframes for the completion of these processes. The percentage of all C&FA and CPP investigations that were completed on time was 43 percent in the second quarter and 64 percent in the previous quarter.
Graph one – Percentage of Child and Family Assessments or Investigations completed within the required timeframes
C&FA/CPP investigation timeframes are split into three categories:
- 25 days to complete an investigation where an allegation relates to an approved caregiver
- 36 days to complete an investigation where an allegation relates to tamariki under the age of five years
- 43 days to complete an investigation where an allegation relates to tamariki or rangatahi over the age of five years
Compliance with these timeframes is reported as:
Graph two – Percentage of Child and Family Assessments or Investigations completed in time by relevant group
Oranga Tamariki confirmed that although some investigations were completed outside the required timeframes, investigations were completed on all the cases that the SoCiC Unit reviewed and reported on. Oranga Tamariki reported that further analysis of this data has been undertaken to identify where assessments or investigations met the needs of tamariki and parties to the allegation, even though the timeframes were not met. It is also identifying cases where timeframes were met, but an administrative error meant that it was not recorded in time.
Oranga Tamariki has confirmed that ensuring the timely completion of assessments and investigations remains an area of ongoing focus. It has made several changes including strengthened practice guidance, provision of feedback and enhanced reporting to drive continuous improvement, as well as additional support and coaching where required for individual sites. It is also strengthening its Performance Management Framework, which includes strategies that foster a culture of insight-led learning and decision-making. The Monitor will request an update on this work for the November 2020 report.
16. Each agency has its own policy and process that defines the timeframes within which an allegation must be reported to Oranga Tamariki, ranging from one hour through to no more than 24 hours.