Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children publishes data on harm to children in state care
Fri 29 Mar 2019
Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children has published data on the number of children harmed while in the care of Oranga Tamariki. These statistics ...
Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children has published data on the number of children harmed while in the care of Oranga Tamariki. These statistics are the first data reported since Oranga Tamariki implemented a new system for monitoring harm.
In the first quarter, from July to September 2018, 130 out of approximately 6000 children and young people in care had findings of harm. In the second quarter, from October to December 2018, 97 out of approximately 6000 children and young people in care had findings of harm. The number of tamariki Māori who experienced harm in care is proportionately higher than the number of tamariki Māori in care.
The harm included physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect. Four different types of placements were considered: family, non-family, return/remain at home or residential. Harm from any perpetrator was included.
For more information, see the Safety of Children in Care Unit which leads this work.
In an interview with Newstalk ZB, Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft said the findings were "deeply disturbing" and "utterly unacceptable." He welcomed Oranga Tamariki publishing data on the extent of the problem.
Interviewed by Stuff, Paora Moyle said "There's only a handful of kids that actually come forward and disclose. This is just what we know about, and there will be many more children in harmful situations."
For additional commentary, see the "Related media" list below.
Increasing number of Māori children in state care
In December 2018, a Stuff investigation found "more children are now born into care than at any time in the past decade, with around five babies a week now separated from their mothers. The majority of these pēpī are Māori." Since 2013, the number of Māori children in state care has increased whereas the number of Pākehā children has declined.
Other recent reports from Oranga Tamariki
Oranga Tamariki has published a report that summarises findings from an evaluation of three Children’s Teams in Canterbury, Horowhenua/Ōtaki and Rotorua.
The Office of the Children’s Commissioner and Oranga Tamariki published the report, What Makes a Good Life? (2019), summarising feedback from more than 6000 children and young people about what wellbeing means for children growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions launched in 2018. The official Terms of Reference for the inquiry direct the inquiry to consider abuse that occurred between 1950 and 1999, but gives the Inquiry discretion to consider abuse outside this time period including current abuse. For more information see the Inquiry website for frequently asked questions (FAQ) and the Terms of Reference.
A former Child Youth and Family caregiver was recently charged with sexual and physical abuse of 17 boys placed with him while he was working as a Child, Youth and Family caregiver in the mid-2000s.
The government has introduced an omnibus bill, to amend the Children, Young Persons, and their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Act 2017 "to ensure that the benefits of the policy to include 17-year-olds in the youth justice jurisdiction are fully realised, and addressing drafting errors in the 2017 Act."
A number of changes for Oranga Tamariki will come into effect on 1 July 2019 as a result of the initial legislation reforms. This includes implementation of the National Care Standards and extending support to young people leaving care and youth justice as they transition into adulthood. The Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive will also have new responsibilities focused on supporting the improvement of outcomes for Māori. For more information see page 16 of the Ministry's Strategic Intentions.