“Even though the number of children in Oranga Tamariki care is decreasing, the number of incidents where Oranga Tamariki staff are causing harm to them is increasing. Something is rotten in Oranga Tamariki and needs to change,” says ACT’s Children spokesperson Karen Chhour.
“The annual Safety of Children in Care report shows that there has been at least 150 findings of harm to children in care where the perpetuator was a staff member between July 2018 and June 2022, with 80 incidents in 2022 alone.
“This is a big increase from 38 incidents in the 2021 financial year, and 16 in 2020. It is becoming more dangerous for children to enter care when it should be the place they finally find safety.
“Oranga Tamariki is failing in its core function, to provide care and protection to children in need. Minister Kelvin Davis has been missing in action for incident after incident, every time his department is pulled up for yet another issue he grumbles but nothing ever changes.
“Earlier this week I revealed that staff members who were put under investigation for abuse more than two years ago are still on paid leave. Oranga Tamariki clearly does not have the processes in place to deal with inappropriate staff conduct and outcomes will keep getting worse until they do.
“At what point does the Minister take some responsibility and issue some consequences? Oranga Tamariki is mis-managed and a seemingly endless source of controversies. How is it meant to serve New Zealand’s most vulnerable when it can’t get the basics right?
“Oranga Tamariki needs to be serving our most vulnerable children and giving them the best chance in life. There’s no more time for excuses and apologies, they need to start delivering.”