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January 2020 Newsletter: Happy New Year from the Office of the Children's Commissioner!

Newsletters

30 January 2020

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Tēnā tātou katoa

Ngā mihi o te tau hau - Happy New Year to you all. I hope you managed to enjoy some summer weather and had time to relax with your friends and whānau over the break. I am refreshed and ready for what is certain to be another challenging year full of opportunity to make things better for our children and young people.

You will be aware of the multiple, intersecting reviews going on into aspects of Oranga Tamariki practice following the attempted removal of a newborn pēpi Māori from their whanau in Hawkes Bay last year. My Office has created resources, including a statistical analysis, to show what happens when reports of care and protection concerns for 0-3-month-olds are made to Oranga Tamariki. These are available to download from occ.org.nz.

I hope these will be useful resources for whānau currently navigating the care and protection system, and those who work with them.

Eliminating child poverty continues to be a priority in 2020. Every child in Aotearoa New Zealand deserves to have the opportunity and support they need to have a good life.

So this year I will continue to advocate for family incomes to be dramatically raised by increasing benefits and making the minimum wage a living wage. I will encourage the government to make the big, bold and permanent changes it will need to reach its child poverty reduction targets.

You can keep up to date with me and the work of my Office throughout the year on Facebook and Twitter. I always appreciate feedback and questions, so please get in touch at children@occ.org.nz.

Ngā mihi mahana

Andrew Becroft
Children’s Commissioner

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L-R: Dr Nessa Lynch, Professor Laura Lundy, Professor Ursula Kilkelly, Bruce Adamson (Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland), Justice Vui Clarence Nelson (Samoa), Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft at the 2019 Child Rights Symposium at Victoria University.

Resources available for whānau navigating care and protection

We’ve developed easy to read information resources for whānau currently navigating the care and protection system, and those who work with them. These resources are focused on happens when reports of care and protection concerns for 0-3-month-olds are made to Oranga Tamariki.

The resources are:

  • an infographic of key care and protection statistics
  • a snapshot of care and protection data over the past 16 years
  • a ‘process map’ style overview of relevant legislation, policies and practice requirements for Oranga Tamariki in this area, and
  • a description of the rights framework underpinning the care and protection system.

Download the resources

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Strengthening the monitoring of Oranga Tamariki

The Independent Children’s Monitor (ICM) was established on 1 July 2019 to strengthen the monitoring of the Oranga Tamariki system. This is to ensure all tamariki and rangatahi are receiving the care and support they need to enable them to reach their potential.

Currently, the OCC has statutory responsibilities under the Children's Commissioner's Act 2003 to carry out a number of complaint and monitoring activities which will transfer to the new ICM when the government has passed legislation to enable this. OCC will continue to carry out our monitoring responsibilities under OPCAT during this time. When the new ICM is fully up and running, it is government’s intention to transfer the monitor back to the OCC.

To find out more about the ICM and how it might affect the work you do, you could attend one of a number of hui currently underway throughout New Zealand. Visit the ICM website to find out when the hui is coming to a town near you and to register your interest.


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Dr Kathie Irwin appointed Chief Māori Advisor

We are very pleased to have appointed Dr Kathie Irwin as Chief Māori Advisor. This is a newly created role Dr Irwin will take up in February 2020.

Dr Irwin has over twenty years’ experience working in senior management and governance roles across the public sector, NGO, Iwi, tertiary education and research sectors. In her previous roles she has championed diversity and inclusion, led Māori strategies and drawn from the latest research on cultural intelligence/cultural literacy to create new futures with people and organisations.


 

148,000 kiwi kids doing it tough

Published in partnership with the JR McKenzie Trust and the University of Otago, our annual Child Poverty Monitor [http://www.childpoverty.org.nz] shows 148,000 children are living in households doing it really tough. That’s a city bigger than Dunedin, full of children whose families can’t afford the basics like having enough to eat, sturdy shoes and warm clothes. We think New Zealand can do better. Read more here


 

ICYMI - In Case You Missed It

We recently published Hard Place to be Happy, sharing insights from 52 children and young people who were living in secure care and protection residences, run by Oranga Tamariki and Barnardos. "I found this report extremely difficult to read, and I think most New Zealanders would too," said the Children's Commissioner.