Oranga Tamariki turns 1

By Tema Hemi

Oranga Tamariki celebrates one year today. Established to replace Child Youth and Family, the Ministry for Vulnerable Children is its governing body. Question is, what have they accomplished, if anything, within the last 12 months?

Oranga Tamariki's Chief Executive Grainne Moss says, "The major developments in Oranga Tamariki have probably been in three areas. First of all, we've had more children spend more time with our social workers so we have actually recruited more social workers."

Five core services were established to work closely with other agencies, communities and families.

Moss says, "We have delegated statutory functions. Family group conferences being run by Ngāti Porou, by Rangitāne. We are working quite closely with Waikato-Tainui." 

327 new social workers have been employed to advance Oranga Tamariki. There has been a significant improvement in encouraging the use of their services.

"If we think about care standards there has been a great deal of consultation with Iwi organisations so that's been really great and also those earlier examples where people like Ngāti Porou are taking on the delegated responsibilities of family group conferences," says Moss.

VOYCE - Whakarongo Mai is a website where children and young youth can contact with their concerns and is a community to which they can belong to.

"The other big piece is consistent quality social work practice and ensuring that all of our children in care have loving and supportive homes that are well connected to their culture and Identity that lead to great outcomes," says Moss.

Despite more than 5700 children and youth remain in care. Moss believes working together with families is the way forward.