Aroturuki- the Independent Children's Monitor has welcomed today’s release by Oranga Tamariki of its Compliance Report against National Care Standards Regulations, and the progress that it has made. On Thursday, Aroturuki Tamariki will publish its independent assessment of agency compliance with the National Care Standards (NCS) Regulations - Experiences of Care in 2022/2023.
Arran Jones, Chief Executive of Aroturuki Tamariki, says self-monitoring is a requirement of thewhich came into effect in 2019.
“The development of ‘lead indicators’ by Oranga Tamariki is a step forward in its self-monitoring. At present, lead indicators focus predominantly on completion of assessments and plans and planning underway to meet needs. We encourage Oranga Tamariki to continue developing its lead indicators so it knows whether required services and support are delivered. This is covered more fully in our Experiences of Care in Aotearoa report which will be released later this week.”
“I expect that Oranga Tamariki would want to know if tamariki (children) and(young people) in its care are getting the help they need – whether through its own contracted services or through other government agencies,” Mr Jones said.
Aroturuki Tamariki asked Oranga Tamariki how many tamariki and rangatahi in its care all lead indicators were met for. Oranga Tamariki assessed itself as “partially compliant” with the NCS Regulations and advised that its core six lead indicators were met for 45 percent of tamariki in care in 2022/2023, an improvement on 31 percent of cases in 2021/2021. Oranga Tamariki also advised that 28 percent of tamariki in its care were found to have 14 lead indicators, an improvement on 18 percent of cases in 2021/2022.
The Safety of Children in Care report was also released by Oranga Tamariki today and shows an increase in findings of abuse and neglect of tamariki and rangatahi in care.
Arran Jones says this increase in abuse and neglect has occurred despite a decrease in the number of tamariki and rangatahi in care.
Notably, there has been a big increase in findings of abuse and neglect of tamariki in return and remain home placements. This is where the child remains in the custody of Oranga Tamariki but is returned home to their parents.
“Our Returning Home from Care report, released last year, identified shortfalls across the social sector, including by Oranga Tamariki in the level of planning for a return home and in the frequency of visits by social workers to check on the child or young person. This is a matter of safety,” Mr Jones said.
In response to the Returning Home from Care report, Oranga Tamariki advised that its ‘Monitoring and reviewing after the return home’ guidance has been updated to state that visiting frequency should be based on the assessed needs of the child or young person. This year, Oranga Tamariki data shows that only 35 percent of tamariki who have returned home were visited weekly for the first month, or to the planned frequency. Oranga Tamariki data also shows around half of returns home are unplanned.
“Oranga Tamariki is continuing to return tamariki and rangatahi home when the parent is not ready and is then not following through on the things within its control to keep tamariki and rangatahi in its custody safe,” Mr Jones said.
The Oranga Tamariki reports can be found on the Oranga Tamariki website: Release of Oranga Tamariki reports regarding children in care | Oranga Tamariki — Ministry for Children
Experiences of Care in Aotearoa 2022/2023 will be available to media on Wednesday, in advance of release at 1pm on Thursday 1 February.
Aroturuki Tamariki – the Independent Children’s Monitor checks that organisations supporting and working with tamariki, rangatahi and their, are meeting their needs, delivering services effectively, and improving outcomes. We monitor compliance with the Oranga Tamariki Act and the associated regulations, including the National Care Standards. We also look at how the wider system (such as early intervention) is supporting tamariki and rangatahi under the Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System Act.
Aroturuki Tamariki works closely with the two other partner organisations in the oversight system,Mokopuna – Children and Young People’s Commission, and the Office of the Ombudsman.