We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

Mana Mokopuna is the approach we have developed to monitor the services provided under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989. We engage with children, young people - and their families and whānau - to understand their experiences of Oranga Tamariki and its contracted providers.   

Approximately 30,000 children and young people are in contact with Oranga Tamariki on any given day. Around 6,000 of these are in the care or custody of Oranga Tamariki. Mana Mokopuna has significantly changed the way we monitor the services provided to those children and young people, and the families and whānau who support them.  

Why Mana Mokopuna came about

A number of catalysts led to the creation of Mana Mokopuna:

Expert Panel Report

At the end of 2015, the government Minister responsible for Oranga Tamariki - previously Child, Youth and Family (CYF) - released the Report of the Expert Panel on Modernising CYF. The panel had reviewed the quality of care & protection and youth justice services provided to children and young people. Their report reiterated many of the themes identified through previous reviews of CYF and its predecessors. Similar themes have been identified by OCC, over recent years.

Two key findings from the final report were:

  • “that a bold overhaul of the system is required to place the child and their need for a stable, loving family at its centre,” (see page 50 of the report), and 
  • “that the majority of children who are known to CYF are Māori, and reducing the over representation of Māori children and young people is an objective of the future system.” (see page 62 of the report)

Although the above findings are not new, the changes to CYF and the establishment of Oranga Tamariki provided an opportunity for OCC to review how we monitor their services. Ensuring that Māori are better supported is an integral part of this kaupapa. 

A child-centred approach

Our previous monitoring framework focused strongly on organisational performance. It assumed that if the organisation was performing well, the needs of the children and young people would be met. Over time, we realised that this was not necessarily the case.

We see children and young people in the context of their family, whānau, hapū, iwi and family group. We focus on nurturing those relationships and supporting the provision of better services, not only to children and young people, but to their families and support networks as well. The participation of children and young people, and their supporters, in decisions that affect them, is an integral component of a child-centred approach.

We needed to rethink our monitoring approach, placing children and young people, and their family, whānau, hapū, iwi and family group, at the centre.

Improved systems, services and supports for mokopuna Māori and their whānau

Advocating for services and policies that reduce inequalities and improve outcomes for Māori is one of the Children’s Commissioner’s key priorities. We see mātauranga Māori as integral to improving those systems, service and supports.

It became clear that a kaupapa Māori based approach to monitoring those services could:

  • help us to connect better with mokopuna Māori and their whānau
  • provide us with robust evidence about the experiences of children and young people, in relation to key aspects of their lives
  • help us to identify enablers and barriers to the provision of quality services
  • support us to address the identified enablers and barriers, with a particular focus on addressing the inequalities experienced by mokopuna Māori.

Legislative changes

The phased implementation of changes to the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989  will be completed by 1 July 2019. During this time, Oranga Tamariki is required to make significant changes to its practice. Each of the six Mana Mokopuna principles corresponds to significant sections of the revised Act.