New intervention service to decrease tamariki uplifted from whānau

By Jessica Tyson

A new early intervention service run by Oranga Tamariki is receiving budget funding to decrease the number of tamariki removed from whānau.

Minister for Children Tracey Martin says the service will use new, highly skilled, intensive support workers to work with whānau of children most at risk of entry, or re-entry, into state care to help them to remain safely at home.

At least 70 per cent of children in state care are Māori, she says.

“This is about breaking the cycle of harm and reducing the number of children who are removed from their families."

The service will be rolled out to five Oranga Tamariki sites, covering around 150 families and 400 children in its first year.

The Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft supports the new service.

“The $28 million for iwi and Māori partnerships is critical, as is funding for early and intensive intervention and a transition service," he says.

“I’m also really glad to see the $1.1 billion investment into Oranga Tamariki. It is at last being properly resourced to carry out its role.”

More new funding for Oranga Tamariki

Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, which takes effect on 1 July 2019, sets out the Ministry’s responsibilities in line with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi to improve outcomes for Māori children and young people and their whānau.

To support this, the Ministry says it will build on its strategic partnerships and relationships with iwi and Māori organisations.

New funding will allow an ongoing commitment to Māori specialist roles, including iwi family group conference co-ordinators.

Whānau care partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations will also be funded to provide models for the development and support of caregivers.

An extra 350 frontline staff will be funded, including social workers, Martin says.

“Rangatahi and tamariki are over-represented in both the care and youth justice systems.  We need to ensure that they receive appropriate care and support – including being connected to their whānau and culture.”