Nov. 25, 2019, 3:45 p.m.
If Oranga Tamariki ceased to exist, are iwi in a position to operate the child, youth and family welfare system? According to Chief Executive of Waitomo Papakāinga, Katie Murray, the answer is ‘NO’.
“It’s one thing to call for something to happen, but in reality, (it) would be more detrimental to those children. Not just the children in care, but also to the whānau who have children in care,” said Mrs Murray.
National advocates recently called for the closure of Oranga Tamariki after a review was released outlining systemic failures in their procedures during a child uplift from a Hawkes Bay hospital that went viral on social media. The nation agreed - something is wrong here.
Advocates from Kaitāia agree the procedures are outdated and that the model of care designed by Oranga Tamariki fails to take into account differences in the urban and rural contexts.
General Manager of OTC, Trudy Brown highlighted some realities faced by the heavily resourced giant, Oranga Tamariki and claims the low-funded, low-resourced community organisations have the ability to do more.
“If the resourcing and money made available to Oranga Tamariki came across with the tamariki in care, our community agencies would be in a better position to mobilise and make it happen,” said Ms Brown.
OTC (Open The Curtains) collaborate with Katie Murray and Waitomo Papakāinga to engage with vulnerable whānau around Te Hiku o te Ika (Far North), assessing the needs of those in distress and identifying immediate solutions. They work with whānau to design a successful pathway forward to ensure tamariki are kept with relatives from their whakapapa and their needs are being met with the wrap-around services provided by the collaboration.
Government agency, Oranga Tamariki, previously known as the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, has been under the microscope since the uplift scandal and the call for a Royal Commission enquiry into abuse of children in its care.