Reports, responses and hearings related to Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children
Tue 25 Aug 2020
We have collated various updates relating to Oranga Tamariki in the news article below.
Subsequent children provisions
The Government has agreed to repeal part of the "subsequent children" provisions in Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. These provisions apply when a parent has previously had a child permanently removed from their care. Introduced in 2014, the provisions require Oranga Tamariki to either apply to the Family Court for a care and protection order, or to apply for confirmation that a child is safe to remain with their parents. This shifted the onus of proof to parents to prove they are safe, rather than Oranga Tamariki establish that the child is not safe. Minister for Children Tracey Martin said an Amendment Bill to remove the provisions will be introduced to Parliament next year.
In the highly publicised attempted uplift of a newborn baby in Hawke’s Bay last year, the parents had had a previous child removed.
Office of the Ombudsman has released He Take Kōhukihuki | A Matter of Urgency (2020), the report from its investigation into policies, practices and procedures for the removal of newborn pēpi by Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children. Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier said the Ministry has been using its powers to remove newborn pēpi from their parents under a without notice Court order "more by routine than exception." Peter Boshier said "Section 78 applications for interim custody are meant to be reserved for urgent cases where no other options are available. And as a matter of fairness and law, they should be made without notice in only the most exceptional cases."
The investigation also found there was "no support offered to parents and whānau to deal with the trauma and grief of child removal," and mothers who wished to breastfeed got only limited support. It found that parents with intellectual disabilities did not get the assistance or advocacy they required, in breach of the international Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities.
Peter Boshier "The Ministry has the tools and resources to meet the requirements of the Oranga Tamariki Act. While I have identified systemic issues with the Ministry’s practice, I also found evidence of good practice at the sites that had formal partnerships with iwi and valued Maori specialist staff."
The investigation was initiated after the attempted uplift of a newborn baby from a mother in Hawke’s Bay in 2019. For other inquiries started in response to the attempted uplift, see the "Related articles" below.
Oranga Tamariki responses
The Ministry for Children - Oranga Tamariki published a response to the Ombudsman's report.
The Ministry has also published a response to Ko Te Wā Whakawhiti: It's Time for Change - A Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki, which was released in February 2020.
Further information is available on the Ministry's Reviews and Inquiries page.
The Ministry for Children - Oranga Tamariki has published its first first report looking at the organisation's performance in addressing Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 (Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989). This section requires the chief executive of Oranga Tamariki to "recognise and provide a practical commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (te Tiriti o Waitangi)." See our News article from July 2019 for background information.
Partnership between Oranga Tamariki and Māori Women's Welfare League
The Māori Women's Welfare League has signed a strategic partnership with Oranga Tamariki to reduce the number of Māori babies and children in state care. The strategic partnership is the first between Oranga Tamariki and a national Māori organisation. National President Prue Kapua said “We want to see our branches on the ground working more closely and being more involved in the decisions. This isn’t just about advising, this is about making the decisions and being part of that process.” Oranga Tamariki has existing agreements with four iwi: Ngāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi, Waikato-Tainui and Tūhoe.
Waitangi Tribunal inquiry
The Waitangi Tribunal Urgent Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki started in July 2020. See the media below for updates on the process.
'Independent Children's Monitor'
The Independent Children’s Monitor has released its second report on agency compliance with the Oranga Tamariki (National Care Standards and Related Matters) Regulations 2018 (1 October to 31 December 2019). It has previously published an Outcomes Framework and a Relationship Management Model. More information is available under What the Monitor's doing.
Cabinet documents have been proactively released on 'Clarification of Policy Matters to Support the Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System and Children's Commission Legislation.'
Māori Leader To Waitangi Tribunal “Oranga Tamariki Cannot Be Healed”, Press Release: National Urban Maori Authority, Scoop, 29.07.2020
The number of newborn babies removed from their parents is rising, Stuff, 12.12.2019