Renewed call to close down Oranga Tamariki Care and Protection Facilities

By Whatitiri Te Wake

Video footage of Oranga Tamariki youth workers using excessive force against youth in care has surfaced, and the Minister for Children Kelvin Davis is demanding answers from his officials.

The footage was revealed to Newsroom by a whistleblower, and included a scene where three staff forcefully restrain a teenage boy.

“I’ve asked officials to go to these facilities to see what the issues are and how to address them. And to look at the skills the staff have,” Minister Davis told Te Ao Mārama.

He said he appreciated the actions of the whistleblower and supported anyone who “raises issues around bad practice.”

However Assistant Māori Commissioner for Children, Glenis Philp Barbara wants Oranga Tamariki Care and Protection facilities shut down.

“This office has lobbied the government numerous times to close these types of homes. They’re not care facilities, they’re prisons.”

Philip-Barbara also questioned what Oranga Tamariki has done to ensure the wellbeing of the young people in the footage and whether the incident has been referred to Police.