The Chair of Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, says the report by Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Beecroft confirms the need for the independent Māori-led inquiry into Oranga Tamariki – due for release next month.

The Children’s Commissioner released his report on 16th January which further evidenced a systemic failure within Oranga Tamariki – especially towards Māori.

Raukawa-Tait says the Māori-led report – commissioned by the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency and led by Māori academics and leadership – will contain shocking and distressing stories from whānau who have been abused by Oranga Tamariki.

“Judge Beecroft’s findings, while revealing, are not new to those of us who work in the Whānau Ora space,” Raukawa-Tait says.

“It is very distressing for young Māori mums who are being targeted even before giving birth. That is wrong on so many levels.”

Oranga Tamariki’s data showed that 6,429 children were currently in care with Māori babies five times the rate of non-Māori to be taken into State care.

The unfettered power of the ‘Report of Concern’ (ROC) welded against whānau Māori to trigger intervention was another alarming factor Raukawa-Tait says.

“We received many stories from whānau detailing that a report of concern was made against them without justification.”

Raukawa-Tait says the big question still not known is why this has happened and continues to happen.

“The process that enables Oranga Tamariki to target Māori Mums when they are at their most vulnerable must stop immediately”.

The full report of the Māori review will be released on February 4.

20 January 2020

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