Our current role is to highlight how tamariki Children (plural) aged 0-13 yearsView the full glossary and rangatahi Young person aged 14 – 21 years of ageView the full glossary are being cared for in State care. We do this by monitoring the systems and processes around their care, not individual children, to ensure the agencies that look after tamariki and rangatahi in care are enhancing their wellbeing and life outcomes.
We report our findings to the Minister for Children, and hold monitored agencies to account by reviewing, measuring, and comparing findings each year, and making reports publicly available.
Our reports highlight good practice and identify areas that require improvement. It is this sustained focus, rather than just issues-based enquiries, that improves oversight of the system and allows the public to measure improvement. We publish agencies’ responses to our findings.
We currently monitor three agencies, with custody of tamariki Children (plural) aged 0-13 yearsView the full glossary and rangatahi Young person aged 14 – 21 years of ageView the full glossary. These are Barnardos, Open Home Foundation and Oranga Tamariki. This means we do not monitor individual cases but look at the systems and processes around their care, to ensure the agencies that look after our tamariki and rangatahi are enhancing their wellbeing and life outcomes.
As the Monitor, we are required to provide assurance to the Minister for Children on the degree of compliance with the NCS Regulations (National Care Standards and Related Matters) Regulations 2018 View the full glossary by monitored agencies as well as the quality of care. Each year, we ask the agencies for their self-monitoring information. This request doesn’t just check compliance with the NCS Regulations, it also asks for their understanding of the quality of care being provided. In addition, we ask them to identify areas requiring improvement as well as areas of high performance. This is also when we ask for updates on areas of improvement we have previously requested information on.
Getting this information from agencies helps us understand part of the picture. Building a good understanding of the quality of care requires us to not only obtain data from the agencies, it also requires us to listen to the voices of experience. For example, agencies might be able to tell us how many tamariki Children (plural) aged 0-13 yearsView the full glossary are enrolled in school, however it is through listening to tamariki, caregivers and whānau Whānau refers to people who are biologically linked or share whakapapa. For the Monitor’s monitoring purposes, whānau includes parents, whānau members living with tamariki at the point they have come into care View the full glossary that we can understand how school is experienced, and whether it is meeting the needs of tamariki.
We utilise the information gathered from our community visits to validate what we received from the agencies, as well as to give voice to their experience. Visiting communities includes meeting with other government agencies such as health and education and Police. In meeting the NCS Regulations, agencies are reliant on others to deliver services well, and it is important that we understand how these services are also meeting the needs of tamariki.
After each visit, we share our feedback with each community. This is so that communities and service providers can begin making improvements, instead of waiting for the annual report.
Government agreed to a phased approach to allow time to progress changes to the law that support our role, and to develop and establish the monitoring function.
We are currently in the second phase of establishment. As part of this phase, we are visiting communities around Aotearoa New ZealandView the full glossary, listening to voices of tamariki Children (plural) aged 0-13 yearsView the full glossary, rangatahi Young person aged 14 – 21 years of ageView the full glossary, whānau Whānau refers to people who are biologically linked or share whakapapa. For the Monitor’s monitoring purposes, whānau includes parents, whānau members living with tamariki at the point they have come into care View the full glossary, carers, NGOs Non-government organisationsView the full glossary, Oranga Tamariki staff and other government agencies. What we hear will inform our annual reports on the NCS Regulations (National Care Standards and Related Matters) Regulations 2018 View the full glossary. Below is a breakdown of our three-phased approach.
Our first phase of monitoring assessed NCS Regulations 69 and 85, which relate to allegations of harm or neglect for children in care. Cabinet agreed work should begin in this area first as it covers the area of highest risk and potential harm to tamariki and rangatahi. We published three reports, covering allegations of harm and neglect made between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020. These reports are available here.
We are now in the second phase, which is monitoring all NCS Regulations. Our first full report, which we published in early 2022, covered the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. Read our Experiences of Care report.
The third phase, which will see us monitoring the whole of the Oranga Tamariki system, will come into effect in mid-2023. This phase will involve monitoring beyond children in care, to any child that interacts with the system; for example, prevention or early-intervention. Read more about the Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System.
Oversight agenciesTari tirohanga whānui
Government reviewed the oversight functions for tamariki Children (plural) aged 0-13 yearsView the full glossary and rangatahi Young person aged 14 – 21 years of ageView the full glossary in care, defining three distinct functions – monitoring, advocacy, and an enhanced complaints function.
The current role of the Monitor is to monitor compliance with the NCS Regulations (National Care Standards and Related Matters) Regulations 2018 View the full glossary. The role of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner is to advocate for tamariki and rangatahi, to complete their obligations under OPCAT and continue to monitor some parts of Oranga Tamariki. The Ombudsman has enhanced oversight of complaints for all tamariki and rangatahi care or custody. We work closely with the OCC Office of the Children's Commissioner View the full glossary and the Ombudsman to jointly strengthen the oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system.
Office of the Children’s Commissioner advocates for the interests and wellbeing of all children and young people in Aotearoa New ZealandView the full glossary. In addition to its advocacy roles, the OCC Office of the Children's Commissioner View the full glossary is also responsible for a number of complaint and monitoring activities. Under the proposed legislation, some of these activities will transfer to the Monitor and the OCC’s advocacy role will be extended to include young people up to the age of 25.
The OCC will continue to hold the monitoring responsibilities for places of detention for children and young people. This monitoring is in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). In conjunction with the Office of the Ombudsman, the OCC also monitors the Mothers with Babies Units in the Department of Corrections’ Women’s Prisons. Visit OCC's website. You can also call the Commission’s Child Rights Advice line on 0800 224 453.
The Ombudsman receives complaints about the State care system, including Oranga Tamariki and other government agencies. In the future, the Ombudsman will also be able to receive complaints about non-government organisations that have custody of children.
The Ombudsman tries to resolve problems people are having with the system and can investigate and make recommendations if needed. The Ombudsman is independent and not a part of the Government.
If you have been unable to resolve your issues with a government agency, you can make a complaint to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman also receives complaints from children and young people. Visit the Ombudsman’s website for advice or guidance on making a complaint against a government agency or call 0800 802 602.
Our kawa PoliciesView the full glossary provides direction and guidance to our staff. They cover all aspects of our practice.
Whanaungatanga is about people and connections. When we apply whanaungatanga, we build safe, respectful, and reciprocal relationships with others. These relationships enable us to understand and identify how monitored agencies are meeting their obligations and supporting positive outcomes for tamariki Children (plural) aged 0-13 yearsView the full glossary.
Whakawhānui is about identifying and understanding our key functions and duties and developing monitoring approaches that help us meet these responsibilities. Whakatūhura is about exploring the locations and communities we will visit and developing prompts that will guide our enquiry.
Hōkaitanga is about gathering the data and information we need to prepare and plan our monitoring visits. Hōkaitanga is also about identifying who we will talk with and reaching out to those communities. We will review what resources we need, schedule key dates, and distribute activities across the monitoring team.
Tātari is about coding the information we have gathered to prepare it for analysis. We will then collate and analyse our findings and identify any key themes, insights and patterns. These findings are shared back with the communities we visited.
We are committed to being ethical in the way we collect and care for people’s data and information. The Caring for Data and Information Handbook highlights what is reasonable to collect, share or use. It also states what we need to do to be transparent with people about how we treat their information.
Our Ethics Code outlines the ethical guidelines and best practice principles that will be followed by our monitoring staff when engaging with tamariki Children (plural) aged 0-13 yearsView the full glossary, rangatahi Young person aged 14 – 21 years of ageView the full glossary, their whānau Whānau refers to people who are biologically linked or share whakapapa. For the Monitor’s monitoring purposes, whānau includes parents, whānau members living with tamariki at the point they have come into care View the full glossary and caregivers.