Child care and protection is in for a shake-up but Davis accepts there will still be a need (“as a last resort”) for the state to intervene

A damning review has found that Oranga Tamariki is a “weak, disconnected and unfit” agency – and the Government says it will cease the controversial tactic of child uplifts.

So says NZ Herald political reporter Michael Neilson in the first paragraph of his account of the shake-up in store for the beleaguered Orangi Tamariki child welfare agency.

The Government has accepted all recommendations from the Ministerial Advisory Board which was set up earlier this year to provide advice on how to fix the country’s child care and protection system.

But the press statement from Kelvin Davis does not portend an end to the “uplifts” of children who need to be protected from their parents or care-givers.  

It does say:

Changes will see a major shift in decision making and resources at a local level, empowering communities to work together with Oranga Tamariki in the prevention of harm against children.

Oranga Tamariki has also been given a clear direction that uplifts, or without notice orders, should only be used as a last resort.

Fair to say, Davis did insist:  

“This report will end uplifts as we have known them.”

But he further said:

“While there will always be a need for some children to be taken into care, this should only happen after all avenues with community and whanau have been exhausted.”

This was spelled out as the third of three points emphasised in the opening of Davis’ press statement:  

  • Decision making and resources to be shifted to communities, with children and whānau at the centre of the system.
  • A new operating model, with better support and training for social workers.
  • Without notice orders (uplifts) to be only used after proper engagement with whanau.

Davis’ announcement was one of several from The Beehive in the past 24 hours.

Some involved Government spending on groups such as Rainbow young people, who will benefit from a $600,000 boost to an initial investment of $4-million specifically for their mental wellbeing.

Actually, the money goes to outfits that provide services believed to be good for the wellbeing of Rainbow young people. 

The $4.6-million package includes consists of $3.2 million for primary mental health and addiction services for Rainbow young people, awarded to RainbowYOUTH  and InsideOUT Kōaro; an $800,000 top-up to the Rule Foundation’s Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund; and $600,000 to deliver Rainbow competency training to mental health and addiction workforces.

More information can be found HERE.  

The Government is pumping a much bigger sum – $37.5 million from within the COVID Recovery Programme – into “a targeted support package of repriortised funding to protect jobs and incomes in the arts and culture sector as it faces the ongoing challenges of Delta”.

Oh – and Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor is packing his bags again.  He will depart for Europe and the United States tomorrow to give a nudge to free trade negotiations with the European Union, represent New Zealand at the G20 Trade Ministers’ Meeting in Italy and meet an array of big-wigs in Washington including US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

This will be the first visit by a New Zealand Minister to the US since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Latest from the Beehive

Govt delivers more wellbeing support to Rainbow young people

The Government has increased its targeted mental health and wellbeing investment for Rainbow young people, taking the total amount of funding past its manifesto commitment.

Government to transform Oranga Tamariki

The Government has accepted all the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Board set up to provide advice on how to fix the child care and protection system, Kelvin Davis has announced.

Government helps protect jobs and incomes for Arts and Culture sector

The Government will provide a targeted support package of repriortised funding to protect jobs and incomes in the arts and culture sector as it faces the ongoing challenges of Delta, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni announced today.

Bill to transform drinking water safety passes

The Government today passed legislation that will transform drinking water safety and improve environmental outcomes for our wastewater and stormwater networks.

Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor to travel to Europe and US to support economic recovery

Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor will travel to Europe and the United States on Thursday this week to advance New Zealand’s trade and economic interests with key partners, including representing New Zealand at the G20 Trade Ministers’ Meeting in Italy.

Asia New Zealand Foundation Chair and Board members announced

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Dame Fran Wilde, DNZM, QSO, as the new Chair to the Board of the Asia New Zealand Foundation – Te Whītau Tūhono.

Latest KiwiSaver Annual Report shows promising benefits for members

The latest KiwiSaver Annual Report from the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), highlights how Government’s recent policy tweaks have positively benefitted New Zealanders, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said today.

Reasons for permitted travel across Alert Level boundary expanded

From 11:59pm tonight additional reasons for permitted travel will be introduced for movement across the Auckland boundary, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

 

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