Partial repeal of the subsequent children provisions

Cabinet papers about amendments to the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 – partial repeal of the subsequent children provisions. A subsequent child is a child whose older sibling is in care and it is unlikely that child will return to their parent.

In November 2021, the Oranga Tamariki Amendment Bill (the Bill) was introduced to the House of Representatives. This Bill actions Cabinet’s July 2020 agreement to partially repeal the subsequent children provisions.

The decisions Cabinet made were based on a review of the provisions that found they are complex and confusing, are not commonly used, and pre-determine the risk of harm for tamariki. We have written a review of the evidence base supporting these changes.

The safety and wellbeing of tamariki or children remains our key priority, and the partial repeal does not diminish our ability to respond when we have concerns about the safety of a subsequent child.

The Bill will partially repeal the provisions for the vast majority of subsequent children – with the provisions retained only for the small number of cases where the parent has a conviction for the murder, manslaughter or infanticide of a child in their care.

Cabinet also noted that further work was required to provide additional support to parents and whānau or family who are not in a position to provide long term care for their child or young person. This was intended to support these parents and whānau or family to heal following child removal and to reduce risk for possible future tamariki or children.

Work has been undertaken to shape and cost these additional supports, which are intended to be co-designed with communities and delivered by iwi, Māori, and community providers. Oranga Tamariki is currently investigating options to fund this new support.

Published: May 20, 2022 · Updated: October 19, 2022