A new partnership strategy aimed at putting the decision-making and support for children in need in the hands of the community has been officially launched in Kaitaia by Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis.
TE ATATŪ, formed in partnership with Te Kahu Oranga Whānau and Oranga Tamariki, is the first such development since the Government set a new direction for the agency and covers all frontline work.
It will see iwi and community organisations more involved in decision making from the outset and is expected to see a reduction in the number of children in care by using community relationships to intervene earlier and more effectively.
Following several turbulent years for Oranga Tamariki an independent Advisory Board was appointed to get to the bottom of what needed to change, said Minister Davis.
“All its recommendations were accepted and one of the key points was to empower the community to care for children in need.”
“For too long Oranga Tamariki has put itself at the centre of this work. The community knows what is best for its children but has not had the power or resources needed to make those decisions itself.
“With a new leadership team in place, Oranga Tamariki is now asking communities what they want, what works for them and how they can help implement it,” Minister Davis said.
He said TE ATATŪ builds on the strategic partnership Oranga Tamariki already has in place in Te Hiku o Te Ika with Te Kahu Oranga Whānau, a collaboration of Iwi, Hapū and Māori providers including Waitomo Papakainga Society Inc, Te Runanga o Te Rarawa, Te Whare Ruruhau, O Meri, and Tuhiata Mahi Ora.
“This existing relationship has enabled Te Kahu Oranga Whānau and Oranga Tamariki to move quickly and work is progressing on how to shift to a shared management and delivery of work in the region,” the Minister said.
Similar announcements and agreements will follow soon as each region across Aotearoa works out the best approach, he confirmed.
“What is effective in Te Hiku might not be transferrable to say Taumarunui, so its important Oranga Tamariki works closely with each community.”
“Oranga Tamariki is on a journey towards a community-led, regionally enabled, and nationally supported way of working, a way that is truly tamariki and whānau centred.
“The TEATATŪ strategy, and the partnership with Te Kahu Oranga Whānau is an example of how to empower communities and Māori to help children and their families in ways that work for them,” Mr Davis said.