How is the Agency responding to cases of abuse or neglect of Māori children and young people in Care or Custody?
The agencies’ 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.
Future Focus: With specific regard to tamariki Māori, one area that was not strong for any agency was information on supports that could be offered when an allegation is made such as cultural supports. This is something the Monitor did not request or focus on and is likely to be included in the next information request.
The three NGO agencies may want to consider or highlight specific responses to Māori in the next data response.
Open Home Foundation – None of the disclosures during the relevant time period for Open Home Foundation were in relation to tamariki Māori. Open Home Foundation have stated regardless of ethnicity it follows its Abuse of Child or Young Person in Care policy and process.
Dingwall Trust – Like Open Home Foundation, Dingwall Trust informed the Monitor that it does not draw a distinction in response to abuse or neglect of children or young people based on ethnicity. It does state that within casework and child/whānau interactions that the child’s ethnicity will be taken into account to ensure a culturally safe response.
Barnardos – Barnardos’ information stated that it records a child’s ethnicity on their file and track responses accordingly. No further information was requested or provided at this time regarding this question given there were no disclosures of abuse for those in its custody.
Oranga Tamariki – the Oranga Tamariki SoCiC Unit’s review process has been enhanced to include the provisions of s7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 which sets out the duties of the Chief Executive to recognise and provide a practical commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (te Tiriti o Waitangi). Oranga Tamariki advised the Monitor that it includes the following:
- the use of hui-a-whānau in decision making
- engagement of Kairaranga and other roles to support evidence of whakapapa searching and/or cultural advice when creating plans
- reviewing the understanding of and demonstration of mana tamaiti in assessment and planning.
Oranga Tamariki informed the Monitor that it also captures tamariki ethnicity in its data and analysis, enabling trend analysis and the extent to which it is meeting core practice requirements in responding to harm for tamariki Māori.
The following overview information for tamariki and rangatahi Māori, with incidents of harm in care reviewed by the SoCiC Unit since July 2018 has been captured in the table below:
Given the short time period, the Monitor is unable to ascertain any real trends in this data. However, over time, it will be useful to reflect on the impact (if any) of targeted or national interventions under section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.