Gráinne welcomes in a new decade
Kia ora tatou koutou
The start of a new year is always a time for reflection, and for me this has been especially true as we enter a new decade.
Oranga Tamariki began changing the system that supports children, young people and their families in April 2017, but the roots of this change go back to 1988’s Puao-te-Ata-tu and the Expert Advisory Panel Report issued in December 2015. These are strong foundations to make significant change.
We know that Child, Youth and Family was never equipped, supported or resourced properly to work well. That’s why Oranga Tamariki was founded, to work alongside our partners, to be equipped with the legislation, resources, policies, practices and remit that it needed to intervene earlier, support families to stay together and break intergenerational cycles.
So, as we move forward into this next decade, I’ve been examining the data, looking at the changes that have been delivered, and thinking about what more we need to do together to continue to transform the system.
Making progress through change
Even in a tough social environment, where much needs to change, the impact we’ve seen so far is significant and we’re starting the new decade with a really strong base. As a result of the changes we’ve made already, we’re in a better position in a number of important areas than ever before:
- There are fewer children, including Māori children, entering care
- Of the children in care, a higher number are with whānau, hapu or iwi – today more than 82 percent of our Māori children in care with caregivers are with whānau, hapu, iwi or Māori caregivers
- We are spending more money directly on our children in care
- More than 300 caregivers have received specialist training and support for high needs children and nearly 200 have been offered it.
- Fewer young people are offending across the country (See the Stuff news article about the plummeting teen crime rate in Huntly).
- There are fewer Māori rangatahi in youth justice residences
- We have services delivered by over 100 iwi/Māori providers – the highest number ever
- We’re spending more money with partners than we have before
- There are more Māori leaders in the Ministry 28 percent of staff who hold senior roles (tier 4 and up) identify as Māori.
- We’re supporting children in care for longer than we have in the past, and now have services that support young people up to the age of 25
- There is now an advocacy service focused on kids in care (VOYCE -Whakarongo Mai).
When I reflect on these changes for children and their families, as well as the changes we’ve seen in practice and policy, I see a common thread weaving throughout all of them: partnership.
Our continued partnerships
It is through partnership that all of this change has taken place – partnership with care experienced young people, partnership with whānau, partnership with iwi and Māori, partnership with NGOs, partnership with the staff at Oranga Tamariki, and partnership with politicians.
I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you all as we enter the new decade. This is an essential part of furthering the transformation we are delivering together, to ensure all tamariki are safe and in loving whānau and communities, where Oranga Tamariki can be realised.
Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou katoa
Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive