Oranga Tamariki has 'more work to do' around keeping children safe as new figures show many still harmed in care

Oranga Tamariki says it still has work to do when it comes to supporting children in care, as new figures show many still face harm.

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Oranga Tamariki says it has work to do when it comes to supporting children in care. Source: Breakfast

The agency today released its third Safety of Children in Care report, which revealed that in the first quarter of this year, from January to March, 103 children were harmed in state care - up from 97 the previous quarter.

Hoani Lambert, deputy chief executive for Voices of Children at Oranga Tamariki, says the agency is releasing the information to be open, transparent and to learn from it.

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About 15 people gathered to protest against the uplift of Māori babies. Source: 1 NEWS

"Our goal is to understand the level and nature of the harm and to reduce it," he said.

"The conversations surrounding this are not easy ones to have, but the more people who engage in issues about child safety and wellbeing, the more likely it is that change will happen."

For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Most children enter the care of Oranga Tamariki because they have been harmed, and the figures do show that when Oranga Tamariki removed children from those harmful situations the vast majority were kept safe. But distressingly, it also showed for some children there was a continuing risk of harm.

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The hui is the first step towards a Māori-led inquiry into Oranga Tamariki, one of four taxpayer-funded probes into the ministry. Source: 1 NEWS

"As an organisation, Oranga Tamariki has begun to make improvements in how we support children in care, their whānau and caregivers," Mr Lambert said. "However, this report shows that we have more work to do." 

In every single case, Oranga Tamariki assesses how to proceed and whether to involve another agency, such as police. Where there were ongoing safety concerns, the child or young person had been removed from the home.