Agency Compliance with Regulations 69 and 85 of the Oranga Tamariki (National Care Standards and Related Matters) Regulations

Introduction

Poipoia te kākano kia puawai

Nurture the seed and it will blossom

Growing up in a stable and loving home is the reality for the majority of tamariki in New Zealand. Unfortunately, there are a number of tamariki and rangatahi whose lives look very different, particularly those who through no fault of their own, are in the custody of the state. This is particularly true for tamariki Māori who are well over-represented in the state care system.

Successive governments have recognised this and have worked towards building a care system based on having children at the centre of decision making, supported by safe, healthy whānau.

The most current report on the state of the care system, the Expert Advisory Panel Report, published in December 2015 provided the blueprint for the most radical shake up of the care system since 1989. The report highlighted the absolute necessity to focus on reducing disparity for Māori, with recommendations that are now legislated to ensure that policies and practices that impact on the wellbeing of children and young people have measurable outcomes for tamariki and rangatahi Māori.

Having independent monitoring of the system is an important accountability mechanism that can positively influence outcomes for tamariki and rangatahi. The introduction of the Independent Children’s Monitor in the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and the Oranga Tamariki (National Care Standards and Related Matters) Regulations 2018 is another positive step forward in supporting the system to do better for all tamariki and rangatahi in care.

The Independent Children’s Monitor has the privilege of presenting its first report on compliance with the National Care Standards Regulations, specifically relating to reports of abuse and neglect of children and young people in care. As this is the first report it sets out the background and context of the Independent Children’s Monitor including its role in the oversight system and then specifically goes into the compliance of agencies with the relevant regulations. The four agencies have been provided with the opportunity to review the content of the report relevant to them. The report also outlines the areas identified by the Monitor for future focus.

The Independent Children’s Monitor would like to thank those who have supported the development of this report, the agencies who provided the key information, the Kahui group for their ongoing advice and guidance and the team for supporting the final product. This process was new for everyone and the timeframes were tight. Thank you for your openness and engagement. Everyone has a part to play in supporting the system to be the best it can be for current and future generations.


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