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.

Ombudsman's report

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.

Section 7AA

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.'

Related media

Tribunal rebuffs Crown over Hastings uplift, video, Newsroom, 25.09.2020

Alleged "toxic culture" at Oranga Tamariki, Te Ao with Moana Series 2, Episode 32, Māori Television, 09.14.2020

Five ways the next government can be an honourable Treaty partner, The Spinoff, 07.09.2020

Dames take zero tolerance to pēpi uplifts, Waatea News, 26.08.2020

Dames Slam Oranga Tamariki – There Are No State Excuses To Uplift, Press Release: Markom, Scoop, 25.08.2020

Social workers fear OT control of staff testimony, Newsroom, 24.08.2020

Oranga [Tamariki] ticked off for seizure, Otago Daily Times, 11.08.2020

Continued Urgent Call For Full Independent Royal Commission Of Inquiry Into Oranga Tamariki, Press Release: Whanau First, 10.08.20

Oranga Tamariki boss: ‘We have created harm’, Newsroom, 08.08.2020

Oranga Tamariki fronts up to Waitangi Tribunal hearing, RNZ, 07.08.2020

Aaron Smale: Failures without consequences, Newsroom, 07.08.2020

Maori partnerships key to Oranga Tamariki future, Waatea News, 07.08.2020

Subsequent child removal power to go, Waatea News, 07.08.2020

Oranga Tamariki report: 'Something is rotten in that organisation', RNZ, 07.08.2020

Ian Hyslop: He Take Kōhukihuki, Re-Imagining Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand, 07.08.2020

Subsequent Provisions Of Oranga Tamariki Act To Change, Press Release: Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu, 06.07.2020

An orchestrated litany of uplifts, Newsroom, 06.08.2020

Newborn Removal Without Notice ‘more By Routine Than Exception,’ Press Release: Office of the Ombudsman, 06.08.2020

Oranga Tamariki partners with Māori Women's Welfare League, Radio NZ, 05.08.2020

Oranga Tamariki, the Waitangi Tribunal and the importance of stories, The Spinoff, 04.08.2020

Some home truths about child protection, Newsroom, 04.08.2020

What will it take for OT to listen to Māori, Newsroom, 01.08.2020

Oranga Tamariki Waitangi Tribunal hearing: Social workers describe frustrations, RNZ, 31.07.2020

A plea for help: President of the Hastings Mongrel Mob's appeal to the Waitangi Tribunal, Stuff, 31.07.2020

Too late to fix Oranga Tamariki says claimant, Waatea News, 30.07.2020

Oranga Tamariki braces for more bad news, Newsroom, 30.07.2020

Oranga Tamariki Waitangi Tribunal hearing: 'Māori ready to take back our tamariki', RNZ, 30.07.2020

Now Is The Hour For Māori To Be Enabled, Press Release: Whanau Ora, 30.07.2020

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

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