Practice review in relation to Malachi Subecz and his whānau

Oranga Tamariki has released the findings of ‘Ko te huarahi pono, ka wātea, kia whakamarama, kia whakatika’ - a review of the practice in relation to Malachi Subecz and his whānau by the Chief Social Worker at Oranga Tamariki.

The Practice Review found that:

  • Oranga Tamariki did not meet our obligations to Malachi or his whānau, and our response to their concerns was inadequate
  • we should have undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the care Malachi was receiving after concerns were reported to us
  • we did not engage with Malachi’s whānau as fully as we should have, and the paternal whānau did not have their voices heard
  • the environment for social work staff within the Te Āhuru Mōwai site contributed directly to decisions made about Malachi
  • there are gaps within practice guidance, professional development, and processes for social workers working with partner agencies regarding responding to Reports of Concern
  • there should have been a more collaborative response to the Reports of Concern from Oranga Tamariki, the community, and other agencies. 

We accept full responsibility for the failings identified and have apologised to Malachi’s whānau. 

We are also making changes to our practice as a matter of urgency, including:

  • ensuring core expectations for practice are consistently met by promoting the system supports that enable quality practice, and implementing responses when they are not met
  • addressing the issues identified at the Te Āhuru Mōwai site, and ensuring all sites offer an environment where social work staff have the support needed to undertake quality practice
  • making sure social workers have reasonably sized and well managed caseloads, taking into account the need to undertake professional, reflective and responsive practice
  • undertaking a review of the legal position and policy underpinning our initial assessment, which currently prevents engagement with tamariki and whānau
  • developing a complaint process fit for tamariki and whānau, which needs greater independence and accessibility, taking into account the experiences of Malachi’s whānau
  • a fundamental shift to how Oranga Tamariki assesses and responds to Reports of Concern with our partner agencies to ensure collaborative decision-making and support.

Published: June 28, 2023