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Independent Children’s Monitor January 2020 Newsletter

Hi <<First Name>>

Kia ora koutou and welcome to the first newsletter update from the Independent Children’s Monitor for 2020.

Report coverAlready 2020 has been a busy year for us. We have published our first Report Agency Compliance with Regulations 69 and 85 of the Oranga Tamariki (National Care Standards and Related Matters) Regulations which is now available on our website.

As this is the first Report it sets out the background and context of the Independent Children’s Monitor including its role in the oversight system and then specifically goes into the compliance of agencies with the relevant regulations from 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019. It covers agency compliance with two regulations under the National Care Standards Regulations, Regulations 69 and 85, which are about allegations of abuse or neglect of children in care and how these are dealt with. The National Care Standards Regulations came into effect on 1 July 2019.

There are currently four agencies being monitored under this legislation – Oranga Tamariki, Dingwall Trust, Open Home Foundation and Barnardos. The Independent Children’s Monitor is phasing in its monitoring function over time. Future reports will look at compliance with all aspects of regulations under the National Care Standards. These will include evidence of outcomes for children and young people as well as further practice enhancements implemented. There is also an expectation of performance improvement to comply with the National Care Standards Regulations.

The Monitor found, in summary:

  • The four agencies have policies and processes to facilitate compliance with Regulations 69 and 85 which relate to reports of abuse and neglect of children and young people in care.
  • All four agencies made enhancements to their internal self-monitoring and quality assurance processes to enable compliance with the National Care Standards Regulations.
  • All four agencies stated that responses to cases of abuse or neglect of Maori children and young people in care or custody are largely done on a case by case basis, with Oranga Tamariki having made a significant number of practice enhancements to consider responses to Maori.
  • In response to Regulations 69 and 85, for the three-month reporting period, children and young people in the care of Barnardos and Dingwall Trust did not disclose any incidents of abuse or neglect and therefore testing their compliance with those regulations was not required. Open Home Foundation had three allegations of abuse and neglect for children in care and Oranga Tamariki had 335.
  • From the information provided and the accountabilities Open Home Foundation is responsible for, its practice is complying with Regulations 69 and 85.
  • Oranga Tamariki is partially compliant with all aspects of the regulations being monitored. Its policies, procedures and practice guidance provide adequate information to support full compliance.
  • In relation to the partial compliance by Oranga Tamariki, the information provided states the responses to allegations were mostly timely at the initial safety screen however the timeframes were not met consistently when completing assessments or investigations into the allegations. There were some data recording errors that required amendment and the child or young person was not always informed of the outcome of the investigation, if appropriate, as required by the Regulation.
  • The information provided by the agencies outlines how they will comply with the National Care Standards Regulations as well as ensure enhanced outcomes for children and young people in their custody and care. This information is relevant as it demonstrates the agencies’ commitment to aim to achieve compliance from 1 July 2019.

Each agency was required to provide a response to the findings in the Report to the Minister for Children - view their responses here.

The Monitor would like to thank those who have supported the development of this Report. This process was new for everyone and the timeframes were tight. Everyone has a part to play in supporting the system to be the best it can be for current and future generations.

Regional hui underway – make sure you register for a hui near you if you haven’t already! Spaces are limited.

Last week, the Independent Children’s Monitor, Office of the Children’s Commissioner and the Office of the Ombudsman travelled to Invercargill, Christchurch and Dunedin for the first three of 18 hui around the country. Thank you to those of you who came along. It was great to meet you all and see such a range of local and national providers, iwi, advocacy groups and government agencies in attendance.

The purpose of the hui is to introduce the Monitor and other oversight agencies and share the mahi currently underway to strengthen the Independent Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system.

Hopefully you will come away with a greater understanding of the agencies involved in the work to strengthen oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system, what their roles are, what’s coming up and how you can get involved now and into the future. This is the beginning of our ongoing engagement and relationship with you on this mahi.

If you are a children’s professional (whether from non-government or government - particularly in the social sector), a provider of services to tamariki and or rangatahi or local iwi we’d love to see you.

This week there are regional hui scheduled for Nelson on Thursday and Blenheim on Friday.

Register for a hui near you

We look forward to seeing you as we travel around Aotearoa.

Ngā mihi nui
Melissa Gill 
Executive Director
Independent Children’s Monitor 
Copyright © 2020 Independent Children's Monitor, All rights reserved.

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