We provide assurance that Oranga Tamariki and other monitored agencies are meeting their obligations under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.
We do this by providing independent monitoring, assurance and reporting on the performance of those agencies, holding them to account for how tamariki and rangatahi are cared for.
We also promote improvements to the system by identifying and sharing insights on examples of high-performance and areas that need improvement.
We use a unique Outcomes Framework to help us measure outcomes for tamariki and rangatahi in relation to the delivery of the National Care Standards Regulations.
Before monitoring occurs across the whole system, it’s important we have the right people and tools to do the job, so Government agreed to a phased approach to ensure we are well-prepared for our monitoring function to cover the whole care system.
Our initial monitoring, which started on 1 July 2019, focuses on agencies’ compliance with regulations 69 and 85, which are about allegations of abuse or neglect of children in care and how these are dealt with. Cabinet agreed that work should begin in this area as it covers the area of highest risk and potential harm to tamariki and rangatahi.
From 31 December 2020, we will oversee and monitor all the requirements of the National Care Standards Regulations.
Once new legislation is passed, our monitoring function will expand to cover the whole of the Oranga Tamariki system, from early intervention to post transition from care or custody.
We currently monitor four agencies with custody of tamariki and rangatahi. These are Oranga Tamariki, the Open Home Foundation, Barnardos New Zealand and the Dingwall Trust.
The four agencies must provide us with information on their compliance with the NCS Regulations, as well as report on how they are assuring themselves that they are complying with these regulations. This information is provided on a regular basis and must have enough detail to inform us on performance and any proposed practice improvements.
Once new legislation is passed, our monitoring will be beyond children in care, and include services that have care or custody of any child that interacts with the system; for example, early-intervention statutory care, protection, youth justice and transitions support systems.
We monitor the system of State care to ensure the agencies that look after our tamariki and rangatahi are doing what they need to.
We gather information from those agencies and listen to the voices of tamariki, rangatahi, whānau, communities, as well as the agencies who provide services, to understand what’s working well and what’s not working. This provides valuable real-life information to support our reporting.
We then report our findings to the Minister for Children, holding monitored agencies to account by reviewing, measuring and comparing findings each year, and making reports publicly available. We also publish agencies responses to our findings.
We currently report on two regulations (69/85), with reports due in December 2019, June 2020 and November 2020. From 31 December 2020 we will report on compliance with all the NCS Regulations every year.
We do not work in isolation. Key to the success of our mahi is engaging and partnering with those who work within or experience the Oranga Tamariki system, including Māori, iwi, whānau, caregivers, providers of services, Māori-focused organisations, government agencies and children’s professionals.
We focus on building relationships that are respectful and trustworthy, reciprocal, with a common focus. Our proactive engagement, along with effective processes for talking, learning and working together, will contribute to successful outcomes for tamariki and rangatahi.
Part of our broader engagement plan is to arrange future engagement with tamariki, rangatahi, whānau, caregivers, iwi, Māori and other key partners. To stay informed, subscribe to our updates.
In May 2019, a group of key Māori leaders, the Kāhui Group, was established to help achieve the engagement and collaboration goals for the policy and legislative phase. The Kāhui Group continues to be involved in this process, and provides advice and support regarding our monitoring assessment approach and how we work.
Kāhui means to flock, to herd, to cluster and so denotes a group; the members of the Kāhui Group have expertise, leadership and mana in health, justice and social services for Māori.