Gráinne's update - Moving to Alert Level 2

Published: May 14, 2020

Chief Executive Gráinne Moss discusses our phased transition to Alert Level 2, and how we will 'play it safe' while we support tamariki, whānau and caregivers during this time.

Kia ora koutou,

As you’ll be aware, the Prime Minister this week announced New Zealand will move out of Alert Level 4 lockdown at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April. We’ll then hold at Alert Level 3 for two weeks, when Cabinet will review how we’re tracking and make further decisions on 11 May.

Our work at Oranga Tamariki will continue to evolve so that we can continue to provide social services at this time. We know tamariki, rangatahi and whānau need support now more than ever, so it’s crucial our essential work continues.

Grainne Moss 18
Chief Executive Gráinne Moss

How we’re playing it safe

At Level 2, the Government has assessed that COVID-19 is largely contained, but the risk of community transmission remains. The goal for our team of five million New Zealanders is to reduce the risk of transmission at home, work, school and when we’re out by ‘playing it safe.

For us at Oranga Tamariki, and those working with us, ‘playing it safe’ means increasing our in-person engagement with those we support while remaining alert and following public health guidelines such as distancing, hand washing and keeping good contact records.

As always, the safety and wellbeing of our people, tamariki, whānau and caregivers is our top priority. So, as we move into Level 2, our work and roles will continue to be different to normal in order to stay safe.

Our work at Level 2

Over the next two weeks we will be taking a phased approach to transitioning to Level 2. Many of our initial efforts will focus on increasing our in-person engagement with tamariki, their whānau and caregivers to make sure they’re reconnected with school, their wider whānau and other important support.

As our in-person interaction with the community starts to increase, more staff will be based at our sites – however most will continue to spend some of their time working remotely.

Most of our office-based staff will continue to work from home for this initial period, and the current staffing arrangements in residences and homes will remain in place.

Working with our partners

At Level 2 we will continue to work with our partners and NGOs as they also make operational changes. Businesses can open and services provided as normal, where this can be done safely. This will mean having measures in place like physical distancing, high levels of hygiene and workplace cleaning, contact records, pre-screening clients, appropriately using PPE, and meeting all health and safety requirements.

We’ve developed resources that will enable us to operate while meeting these requirements, including client screening and contact tracing tools, and our partners are welcome to reference these as you develop your own guidance and tools, or use ours if they work for you.

This is a complicated time for all of us, and we’ll all need to work together to do the right things for tamariki and whānau. As always, the work you, our partners, do is so valuable and appreciated – thank you for your mahi and continued support as we keep ourselves, tamariki, whānau, communities and our country safe.

We would like to see the gains we’ve made from working collaboratively during previous alert levels sustained into the future. This includes approaches like working with whānau and other service providers to identify a lead worker, and to connect with their local network of partners – particularly iwi and Māori organisations who have a unique role in supporting their communities.

Keep in touch

Coming out of this prolonged period of isolation is likely to result in a range of emotions, reactions and needs. Please stay connected. Reach out or check in with others. Look after yourselves, keep safe, and if you need us or would like to discuss what Level 2 means for you, please get in touch.

Once again, thank you to everyone who has been working with us. I’m incredibly proud of the difference we are making together every day.

He waka eke noa. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa.

Gráinne Moss

Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive