Gráinne's update - Moving to Alert Level 3

Published: April 24, 2020

Chief Executive Gráinne Moss discusses how we will move down to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, and how we are continuing to respond, with the support of caregivers and partners, to the needs of tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau.

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.

Gráinne Moss
Chief Executive Gráinne Moss

Our work in Level 3

We’ve been doing a lot of planning for a shift to Level 3 and we are regularly updating our website with information about these changes – so I would encourage you to keep checking in on that for any new information. While many of our staff will remain working from home for the near future, we are continuing to operate with limited presence at sites, and with strict health and safety considerations in residences and family homes.

At Level 3, we’ll still engage through remote technology and use person-to-person contact where there is a critical or urgent need that cannot be met in any other way. Our focus remains on being able to work safely by practicing physical distancing and maintaining good hygiene just as we and our partners and providers have been doing.

Changing to meet needs

We’ve been updating guidance for social workers throughout the COVID-19 situation so we can overcome the challenges it presents. Work is currently underway to review our guidance for Level 3– and we expect these changes will be small and on our Practice Centre soon. This includes working through what this means for the areas most impacted by restricted person-to-person engagement, such as family group conferences and whānau contact.

As we move into Level 3, we’ll be in touch with all our caregivers individually to discuss what this means for their specific situation, and create plans to support them. Decisions around children physically attending school or contact visits will be made on a case-by-case basis, and involve the child’s family, caregivers, and social workers.

Working together

We’re also working closely with other agencies, so social services can continue wherever possible. Oranga Tamariki and MSD, as the lead social service agencies, are working with ACC, Ministry of Justice, Te Puni Kōkiri, Corrections, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to continue to deliver services. When meeting face-to-face is required, we’re working together to minimise the numbers engaging with people and whānau in their home, through approaches like identifying a lead worker to carry out all home visits on behalf of these organisations.

All organisations providing social services can operate under Alert Level 3, and we’ll continue to regularly communicate useful information to our providers over this time.

Thank you

Thank you to all of you who have been working with us for what you’re doing. Our partners are working long hours, and showing outstanding collaboration, innovation and flexibility. It’s making a real difference in the time it is needed most. Again, thank you.

As our Prime Minister said, and which we tautoko, stay safe, stay strong, stay kind.

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

Gráinne Moss

Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive