Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children publishes data on harm to children in state care

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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.

One page summaries have been published for the first quarter (July - September 2018) and the second quarter (October - December 2018).

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.

The new approach to monitoring harm experienced by children and young people while in care was launched in August 2018.  

For more information, see the Safety of Children in Care Unit which leads this work.

See also comments from Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Grainne Moss who was interviewed by media outlet Stuff and Radio NZ.

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.

Related news

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.

Related media

Calls for a Māori Children's Commissioner to give voice and advocacy tamariki, Radio NZ, 08.04.2019

Māori Council crack down on State Care system, Māori Television, 05.04.2019

20 years on from one of NZ's worst child abuse cases: 'Nothing's changed', NZ Herald, 05.04.2019

Young Māori over-represented in state care and detention, Radio NZ, 04.04.2019

Call for independent Māori children's commissioner over 'unconscionable' rates of abuse in state care, NZ Herald, 04.04.2019

Maori Council to make a move on care and protection of kids, Press Release: Maori Council, Scoop, 03.04.2019

Kids in care data a sign of failure, Waatea News, 03.04.2019

Child welfare concerns on the rise in Hawke's Bay, according to Oranga Tamariki figures, Stuff, 02.04.2019

Oranga Tamariki - Some Food for Thought, Re-Imagining Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand: Ian Hyslop, 01.04.2019

Oranga Tamariki will need extra resources to care for kids longer, Radio NZ, 01.04.2019

'They aren't getting any better': Callers share Oranga Tamariki experiences, Newstalk ZB, 01.04.2019

Oranga Tamariki two years on: what's changed? Radio NZ, 1 April 2019

Two years as Oranga Tamariki: Getting whānau back into children's lives, Stuff, 31.03.2019

Oranga Tamariki 'smacks of racism' - Dame Tariana Turia, Newshub, 31.03.2019

We finally know the true extent of abuse in state care. It is shocking, Stuff, 28.03.2019

Children's Minister quizzed on state care abuse figures, Stuff, 23.03.2019

Oranga Tamariki shows full extent of abuse in state care: 220 kids harmed in 6 months, NZ Herald, 15.03.2019

More than 220 children abused in Oranga Tamariki care in 2018, Stuff, 15.03.2019

Time to have a brutal conversation about Maori kids in care, Press Release: Maori Council, Scoop, 15.03.2019

Former caregiver pleads not guilty to abusing 17 teenage boys, Radio NZ, 13.03.2019

Child, Youth and Family caregiver pleads not guilty to sexual, physical abuse charges, NZ Herald, 13.03.2019

Former Child Youth and Family caregiver denies sexually abusing boys, Stuff, 13.03.2019

Stronger iwi links counter to baby grab, Waatea News, 28.02.2019

Deep seated racism in baby grab, Waatea News, 27.02.2019

Porirua mother fears Oranga Tamariki could take her children away at any time, Radio NZ, 27.02.2019

Outrage over rise in number of Porirua children put into state care, Radio NZ, 26.02.2019

Youth report racism, violence and poverty as key themes in life - report, Māori Television, 26.02.2019

Up to a third of Kiwi kids struggling to live a happy life, survey shows, Stuff, 26.02.2019

Oranga Tamariki doesn't collate mental illness figures, Radio NZ, 10 December 2018

Colonisation + Capitalism = Māori in State Care, Opinion: Ian Hyslop, Re-Imagining Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand Blog, 05.10.2018