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Independent Children’s Monitor January 2020 update

Hi <<First Name>>

Happy New Year. Welcome to 2020!

We are resending the Monitor’s first newsletter sent at the end of last year. Apologies to those who have already received this information. Please note, included is the information sheet about the upcoming regional hui.

Independent Children’s Monitor December 2019 Newsletter

Kia ora koutou and welcome to the first newsletter update from the Independent Children’s Monitor.
It is exciting to have the Monitor’s website up and running. It has been a whirlwind first six months for the Monitor with plenty more planned for 2020. 

Thank you for your interest in the important mahi underway to improve the outcomes of our tamariki and rangatahi who are in care and those who come into contact with the Oranga Tamariki system.  

The Monitor will be sharing regular updates on the mahi currently underway to strengthen the independent oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system. Check out below for details of how you can be involved, including our engagement hui around the country starting in late January 2020. 
Click here to register for a regional hui near you.

Visit the Ministry of Social Development website to find out more about the Government’s work programme to strengthen oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system, which includes enhancements to the functions of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

What is the purpose of the Independent Children’s Monitor?

The Monitor’s role is to support the system caring for tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) in state care. It does this by monitoring, assessing and providing assurance of the extent and quality of compliance under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and the associated National Care Standards Regulations 2018 (NCS Regulations). In the future, it will be asked to monitor the Oranga Tamariki system as a whole. The intention is to reflect a broad spectrum of monitoring from compliance and practice quality through to monitoring outcomes being achieved for tamariki and whānau, with a focus on continuous improvement. 
Central to this mahi is the important role whānau, hapū and iwi play in working with Oranga Tamariki to achieve positive experiences and outcomes.

What’s been achieved so far? 

Over the last six months the Monitor has been working hard to deliver its first report to the Minister for Children. The Monitor is currently responsible for monitoring regulations 69 and 85 of the NCS Regulations. These regulations relate to reports of alleged abuse and neglect to Oranga Tamariki regarding tamariki and rangatahi who are in the custody and care of the state. Four agencies currently have the custody of approximately 6,600 tamariki and rangatahi.

The four agencies are:

  • Dingwall Trust
  • Barnardos
  • Open Home Foundation, and
  • Oranga Tamariki

The report was provided to the Minister for Children in December and the Monitor hopes to be able to share it with you in early 2020.
Another key milestone is the launch of the Monitor’s website and interim brand. The brand reflects soft and subtle Māori iconography inspired by the kete, taniko and tuku tuku pattern. The imagery throughout the website illustrates the importance and connectedness of whānau.

Policy and Legislation development process 

The Ministry of Social Development’s policy team has been working hard to progress the proposed policy and legislative changes to strengthen independent oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system. It is hoped the Bill will be introduced in Parliament in the New Year. Updates will be provided in the newsletter so keep an eye out for how to get involved through the Select Committee process.
Earlier this year the Ministry of Social Development Policy Team and members of our Kahui Group held several hui with Māori organisations and individuals who are active in the care system to understand their views on the oversight system and more particularly the role of an independent monitor. They were supportive of the oversight system and of having a monitoring and assessment framework that is imbued with tikanga Māori, is both child and whānau-centric and based on the premise that what works for Māori will work for everyone else.

What’s next? 

Full Monitoring Assessment Framework development
The Monitor will continue to monitor the four agencies and their compliance with NCS regulations 69 and 85, with its next report to the Minister due in June 2020. The monitoring team has been updating its initial assessment framework as a result of the first report and is also working on the full assessment framework for when the Monitor begins assessing compliance with all of the NCS Regulations from December 2020.

Both frameworks will be up on the website next year and updates on progress will also be in the newsletter. Please subscribe if you are keen to be updated on this work.  We are also interested in hearing from people who would like to be part of our working groups in developing this mahi – more about this will be shared at our regional hui.

How you can get involved 

The Monitor is hosting 18 regional hui around the country from late January through to March 2020.

The purpose of the hui is to introduce the Independent Children’s Monitor, share decisions already taken and work completed so far and to understand how those who work in the sector and those who come into the contact with the Oranga Tamariki system would like to engage in this mahi in the future. There will be opportunities for you to ask questions and share your thoughts. 

Those who will benefit the most from attendance are providers and community networks, those in senior roles from government agencies, local Iwi and children’s professionals. 

Part of the Monitor’s broader engagement plan is to arrange future engagement with caregivers, providers, tamariki, rangatahi and whānau and those professionals at the front line at a later date in 2020.

Click here to register for a regional hui near you. Please note, some venues have limited capacity so make sure you register to not miss out.

Please share this newsletter with anyone who you think would be interested in the current work programme underway. 

On behalf of the Independent Children’s Monitor I would like to thank those who have engaged with and supported the Monitor so far this year and I look forward to working with many of you in the new year.

Meri Kirihimete and all the best for the holiday season and new year
Ngā mihi nui
Melissa Gill 
Executive Director
Independent Children’s Monitor 
Copyright © 2020 Independent Children's Monitor, All rights reserved.

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