Thursday, May 23, 2024

Reforms set to strengthen Oranga Tamariki oversight

Social Development and Employment Minister, Louise Upston says the rights of children and young people will be enhanced by changes to strengthen oversight of the Oranga Tamariki system, including restoring a single Children’s Commissioner.

The Minister has today announced reforms to fulfil commitments in the National-ACT coalition agreement to create an independent monitoring and oversight agency for Oranga Tamariki.

“The Government is committed to delivering better public services that care for our most at-risk young people and provide them with greater opportunities,” said Minister Upston.

As part of the proposed legislative changes that are intended to be introduced into Parliament later this year, the coalition Government has committed to:

  • Return the Children and Young People’s Commission back to a single Commissioner, moving away from the current five-member board structure;
  • Change the Independent Children’s Monitor from a departmental agency hosted within the Education Review Office to an Independent Crown Entity.

“Children and young people need a highly visible advocate who isn’t afraid to speak out on the complex challenges they face, which is why we will restore the single Children’s Commissioner that was abolished by the previous government.”

“It’s also critical that the Children’s Monitor operates at arm’s length from Government, and I’m concerned it is not seen as fully independent of political considerations as an agency within a government department.

“We heard the concerns of many who opposed the previous government’s reforms and have responded.

“The timing of our changes will allow for input from the final report of the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry. We will also bring forward reviews of the Children and Young People’s Commission Act 2022 and the Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki Act 2022, starting later this year.

“This will give everyone a say on how we can make the Oranga Tamariki system work better for them, our children, their families, and for all New Zealanders,” the Minister said.

Latest Articles