Gráinne's update - July 2017

Published: July 18, 2017

Gráinne discusses how vulnerability impacts the lives of children, and talks about what we are doing to address these impacts to improve outcomes for tamariki.

What is vulnerability?

What does it look like, what does it sound like and how does it impact on the lives of children?

These questions lie at the heart of Oranga Tamariki.

These questions are fundamental to improving the outcomes for young people in this country. They are crucial to shifting the mindsets of New Zealanders, to help us reach that common goal.

It is easy enough to recognise extreme vulnerability - high profile cases of abuse and neglect, which we hear of far too often. Many of you will be face to face with these realities and I thank you for the important work you do. 

We have to work effectively and swiftly with these children; there’s no room for complacency. But that’s not enough.

We need to extend our understanding of what it means for a child to be vulnerable, to recognise that there is a spectrum of vulnerability.

Every New Zealander has a role to play in making sure our tamariki are safe, loved, and able to reach their potential

Changes are being implemented

Beyond the obvious, there are other more subtle ways in which a child may be exposed to experiences which interrupt their young lives and prevent them from embracing their future.

Knowing what these are, and how to recognise them, gives all New Zealanders the opportunity to intervene early, to help children and young people overcome vulnerability before it has a chance to impact their futures.

With this front of mind we’ve made considerable changes over the last three months on our journey towards oranga tamariki.

We’re preparing for a wide range of legislative changes, including changes which will allow us to support young people till they’re 25.

We’re working together with our partners: agencies, caregivers and care experienced young people to introduce a range of practical changes.

We’re partnering with iwi to extend whakapapa whānau connection and support with Mokopuna Ora.

We’ve collaborated with caregivers to create a handbook to make it easier to access services.

We’re increasing the numbers of social workers, and enabling them to spend more time with kids. We’re partnering with providers to open family-style youth justice homes.

But, more than just building Oranga Tamariki, we’re encouraging brave conversations about how small actions can have a positive impact.

Working together to be part of the change

Many of you working with tamariki already know that with the right support, at the right time, these children and young people will be our future social workers, parents, doctors, teachers, tradespeople, entrepreneurs and leaders.

Many of us know that there is a 'stigma' about having been or being in care and often this stigma prevents people believing that our tamariki have the seed of greatness inside of them. Every New Zealander has a role to play in making sure that they are safe, loved, and able to reach their potential.

So, while we’re already making big changes to the work we do every day, we’re also showing New Zealanders the potential our children have and how they can be part of this change.

There are a range of small acts that can make an enormous difference to children’s lives. You might like to see how we’re inspiring others by sharing proof of that - how positive actions changed kids’ lives.

Together, we are beginning to lift the barriers and enable New Zealanders to be a part of the change towards oranga tamariki. When we work together, we can make a difference. Thank you for the difference you are making.  

Ngā mihi nui