How are you able to provide assurance that all allegations in relation to risk of harm caused by abuse or neglect of a child or young person in care are logged and responded to?
Regulation 69(1) requires that notifications of allegations of harm caused by abuse or neglect of tamariki and rangatahi in care or custody are responded to and the Monitor acknowledges that there is a dual responsibility between the NGO agencies and Oranga Tamariki when responding these allegations. Oranga Tamariki is responsible for completing the statutory investigation under s17 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. The NGO, who has custody of the tamaiti or rangatahi, is responsible for reporting the allegation of risk of harm to Oranga Tamariki and ensuring the immediate safety of the tamaiti or rangatahi. It is also responsible for supporting the tamaiti or rangatahi throughout the investigation and at the end of the process.
Open Home Foundation
Open Home Foundation reported one allegation of a risk of harm caused by abuse or neglect in relation to a child in its care or custody for the period. Oranga Tamariki completed an assessment, which did not result in a finding of abuse.
Based on the information provided, and the aspects of the regulation within its control, Open Home Foundation is compliant with regulations 69 and 85.
Dingwall Trust and Barnardos
Both Dingwall Trust and Barnardos reported they had received no allegations for the period and therefore compliance with this regulation is not relevant to this question.
When an allegation is made, the National Contact Centre makes an initial assessment using the Decision Response Tool, in order to determine an appropriate response. The decision is then quality checked by a supervisor. The same first line of assurance is used at sites. Oranga Tamariki reported that a weekly report, which identifies all tamariki in care or custody who have been the subject of a Report of Concern (notification), is reviewed nationally and regionally to ensure that appropriate action is taken.
Where it is determined that an allegation requires a Child and Family Assessment or Investigation, this follow up response is undertaken at sites. These assessments or investigations may lead to “findings”. Findings include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, behaviour/relationship difficulties and “not found”.
The SoCiC Unit within Oranga Tamariki is responsible for reviewing and reporting on non-accidental harm caused to children in care or custody. During the second quarter, the SoCiC Unit reviewed 253 cases with findings for tamariki in care or custody. The SoCiC Unit has therefore provided the assurance regarding these cases.
The Monitor noted in its December 2019 report that there was a lack of visibility around the allegations of risk of harm caused by abuse or neglect that were classified as “no further action required” at the National Contact Centre or a local site. Oranga Tamariki reported that from March 2020 it has expanded its assurance process to include a sample of allegations that were closed with no initial assessment or follow-up assessment or investigation. The Monitor will include the results of this reporting and analysis in its November 2020 report.