Prepared by Rachel Galanter, 2020
With funding from the sponsors of the Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowships in Public Policy.
About the Author
Rachel Galanter is the Executive Director of Exchange Family Center in Durham, North Carolina.
In 2020 New Zealand is simultaneously continuing its transformation of Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children (Oranga Tamariki) and moving ahead with a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and accompanying programme of action. These efforts to improve the responsiveness of government in supporting children within their families, whānau and communities coincided with a new report from the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency depicting current and past failures of child welfare efforts in New Zealand for whānau Māori. The report proposed a robust wrap-around model to meet the needs of tamariki and whānau. What will New Zealand do differently to achieve success in its current efforts to be the best place in the world for all its children and young people?
This report begins by providing background on the revision to the Oranga Tamariki operating model, discussing current responses to early signs of need and setting out the plan for strengthening the government’s approach to early intervention to prevent the need for families’ future involvement in the care, protection and youth justice systems. The methodology for this study included interviews with staff from Oranga Tamariki site offices and partner organisations, in addition to a review of related documents on processes, research, evaluations and legislation regarding Oranga Tamariki, universal services and early interventions.
This report identifies strengths, staff and system requirements that impact New Zealand’s ability to address early signs of need. However, because of the time-limited nature of the research and the interruption resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, a smaller self-selected pool of participants was interviewed that originally planned.
Further research on this topic may find additional themes or nuances.
The report culminates with three recommendations: