The Monitor’s job is to provide independent assurance that supports agencies to ensure the wellbeing and interests of tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) are at the centre of how the state delivers care, and to support and hold to account the organisations that provide that care.
It will do this by independently monitoring the Oranga Tamariki system to:
provide assurance that Oranga Tamariki and approved organisations are meeting their obligations under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989; and
promote improvements to the system by identifying and sharing insights on examples of high performance and areas for improvement.
Building the Monitor
The monitoring function will be phased in over time, both to ensure it is established properly and because some future enabling legislation is under development. As this type of system monitor is new, we also must design and build the systems and processes we need. The Monitor is being developed in three phases:
Established on 1 July 2019, the Monitor's initial focus is on agencies’ compliance with the Regulations 69 and 85 of the Oranga Tamariki (National Care Standards and Related Matters) Regulations 2018 (National Care Standards Regulations). These regulations are about allegations of abuse or neglect of children in care and how these are dealt with.
The Monitor will oversee and monitor all the requirements of the National Care Standards Regulations by December 2020.
Once the new legislation is passed, the Monitor will expand the monitoring function to cover the whole of the Oranga Tamariki system, from early intervention to post transition from care or custody.
Who is monitored
With the initial focus on Regulations 69 and 85 of the National Care Standards Regulations (relating to allegations of abuse or neglect of children in care), the Monitor has started monitoring the four organisations with custody of tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people). These are Oranga Tamariki, the Open Home Foundation, Barnardos New Zealand and the Dingwall Trust.
The four organisations must provide the Monitor with information on their compliance with the National Care Standards Regulations as well as reports on how they are assuring themselves that they are complying with these regulations. This information will be provided on a regular basis and must have enough detail to inform the Monitor on their performance and any proposed practice improvements.
To determine the validity of the information provided from the four organisations, the Monitor will seek the views of tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people), their whānau and caregivers about how the system is working for them. This will provide valuable real-life information to support the Monitor’s report.
The Monitor will also meet with and visit staff from the four organisations to seek their views on how they are meeting the needs of the tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) they are working with.
The Monitor's engagement approach
Engagement is key to the success of this mahi (work) with a strong need to work with partners to develop how the Monitor will look and work in the future.
Engagement began with those agencies directly impacted by the National Care Standards Regulations 2018. The Monitor is at the beginning of it's engagement with Māori to talk about the overall strengthening of the oversight system.
A group of key Māori leaders, the Kāhui Group was established in May 2019 and they are instrumental to achieving the engagement and collaboration goals for the policy and legislative phase. The Kāhui Group will continue to be involved in this process as it progresses, as well as providing advice and support into the monitoring assessment approach and how the Monitor will work in the future.
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, and they are:
- Donna Matahaere-Atariki (Chair)
Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, Ngāti Taoka, Te Atawhiua, Taranaki, Te Atiawa
Donna Matahaere-Atariki (MNZM) chairs the Otakou Rūnanga and the Ministry of Health NGO Council. She is also a member of the University of Ōtagō Council, Trustee of Well South Primary Health Network (PHO), Alternate for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and a Gambling Commissioner. Donna has also held positions in Oranga Tamariki and Te Puni Kōkiri and been a Whānau Ora coach for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Whānau Ora Commission. She is currently the General Manager, Treaty Directorate at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care in New Zealand.
- Tā Mark Solomon
Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kurī
Tā Mark Wiremu Solomon, (KNZM) is an experienced and respected leader of his hapū, his iwi and the wider New Zealand business community.
He has served as a member of his local school board and the board of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (2001-2007), as a trustee of Takahanga Marae in his home kainga of Kaikoura, as Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for nearly 18 years (1998-2016) and has been a member of the Canterbury District Health Board. Tā Mark is currently on the Deep South Science Challenge Board and the Sustainable Seas Science Challenge Board and Chair of the Board for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Whānau Ora Commission. Tā Mark is a strong advocate for Māori.
- Druis Barrett
Ngāti Whatua-Ngāpuhi descent and her hapū are Uriroroi and Mahurehure
Druis Barrett (CNZM) has been a previous Commissioner for two Commissions; Training and Employment, and the Gisborne Cervical Screening Cases; was a former National President of the Māori Women’s Welfare League; Trustee of Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board; and sits on many government advisory groups. She is passionate and committed to promoting and setting tūturu policy for Māori and for the well-being and development of whānau, hapū and iwi.
- Katie Murray
Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kuri, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāi Takoto
Katie Murray (QSM) is the Kai Arahi of Waitomo Papakainga, a whānau-based and focused kaupapa Māori based social service agency in Kaitaia. Waitomo Papakainga supports a wide range of programmes and activities that support whānau in her community.
Katie is actively involved in her community of Te Hiku o Te Ika and has a degree in Social Work. She is Deputy Chair of Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa as well as being the Chair of Te Hiku Social Accord.
Katie is a straight talking, passionate and visionary Māori woman committed to the restoration of tino rangatiratanga for whānau, hapū and iwi.
- Eugene Ryder
Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Awa and Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau.
Eugene Ryder has over 25 years’ experience of working to support families who are marginalised in our communities and his expertise and voluntary work in and alongside gang communities in particular, is exceptional. This was most recently recognised when Eugene was appointed by the Chair of the Royal Commission on the Abuse of Children in State Care in New Zealand as an Ambassador and key contact with networks in the gang and wider community. He is held in very high regard not just in the Māori community, but nationally in the community and voluntary sector.
Eugene has worked alongside various government departments advising and sharing his knowledge and expertise, most notably with the Department of Justice, Department of Corrections, Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry for Social Development.
Eugene has overcome significant barriers in his life and inspires many with his journey of where he has come from to where and who he is today.
He has degrees in Social Work, project management and frontline management, is a Kapa Haka tutor and member of the Ngāti Poneke Māori Club and has a consultancy business.
Development of the Monitor
To inform the development of the Monitor we held a series of hui in early 2019 to talk with Māori about what a strengthened oversight system would look like. The hui were informative and supportive of establishing an independent monitor. There was great emphasis on keeping tamariki (children) safe while recognising the important role of whānau and working together to improve outcomes for tamariki in that context.
As the Monitor continues to be built, there will be opportunities for people with an interest in the work of the Independent Children’s Monitor to engage in multiple ways. The Monitor is developing the engagement plan for this and will update the website as it completes this work.
Engagement is key to the success of this mahi and there is a strong need to work with partners and key stakeholders, including iwi, Māori, whānau, caregivers, providers of services, Māori-focused organisations, government agencies and children’s professionals.
Engagement with Māori to talk about the overall strengthening of oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System took place in mid-2019 to help inform the Ministry of Social Development’s policy and legislative proposals. Twenty-two engagement hui were held around the country, with individuals and groups who have a specific interest in this system or are active in it.
This was followed by 19 regional hui held from late January through to March 2020, to introduce the Monitor and share decisions already taken and mahi completed so far with those who work in the sector. It was also a chance for the Monitor to understand how those who work in the sector and those who come into the contact with the Oranga Tamariki System would like to engage in this mahi in the future.
You can find out more about the Monitor’s engagement here.
Part of the Monitor’s 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.