Te Pāti Māori are calling for a review on Oranga Tamariki’s Child Protection Protocol and the culture at their youth residences, after a whistle blower video revealed physical abuse against children in state care by Oranga Tamariki staff members.
“I feel huge aroha for our tamariki who are already traumatised and clearly still at risk of abuse and humiliation in state care. Many of these tamariki have come from backgrounds where violence and abuse is normal. These are the most vulnerable people in the country” said Te Pāti Māori co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.
“Why did it take this case going to media for the Child Protection Protocol to be triggered? What we’re hearing is that the protocol hasn’t been reviewed or changed for years.
“There is clearly a broken culture within youth residences, that workers think its acceptable to use force with children and not focus on de-escalation – that’s what happens when youth workers are being used to make up for the lack of trained and experienced social workers and poor staff retention in residences.
“We expect the same level of care from Oranga Tamariki staff as they do for parents in the community. If anyone else behaved this way, Oranga Tamariki would be taking their children from them. This is absolutely shameful behaviour.
“I am fearful for the children in state care right now who do not have a whistle blower looking out for them. The fact that someone had to risk their job and safety to bring this to light is terrifying.”
“We need assurance from the Minister that the abuse and trauma of tamariki in state care will stop immediately. How will you ensure that all of your staff are adequately trained and qualified to be caring for vulnerable tamariki? How will you ensure that not one more of our mokopuna are abused in your care?”
“We have heard the harrowing stories of survivors who have been abused in state care. We have given far too many chances to a Pākehā agency that has not only failed in its duty to care and protect our mokopuna, but is responsible for inflicting intergenerational trauma. Enough is enough” said Ngarewa-Packer.
Himiona Grace, 021 861 051
Authorised by Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, Parliament Buildings, Wellington