ANZASW Response: Government appointment of Advisory Board to oversee Oranga Tamariki overhaul
A new four-person advisory board will oversee the structural overhaul of Oranga Tamariki. The Advisory Board is made up of high-profile Māori leaders. Mathew Tukaki will chair the board and will be joined by Shannon Pakura, Sir Mark Solomon and Dame Naida Glavish.
The Board will report to Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis. Davis has previously explained that the Government is committed to fixing the child care and protection system to ensure that Oranga Tamariki is the organisation people go to when they are in need of help and support.
ANZASW extends our congratulations to all four board members who on receiving what will without doubt be challenging but highly rewarding roles. Of particular note to ANZASW is the selection of Shannon Pakura, past ANZASW President and Life Member of the Association. Her selection to the Board highlights her aptitude and absolute capability in upholding excellence in social work in Aotearoa.
On Morning Report, Tukaki explained that the Board will focus on the three key areas of organisational culture, professional practice of social workers and relationships with families, in particular Māori due to, as highlighted by Tukaki, the dominant population of Māori within the care and protection system.
The recommendations highlighted in the report, which will be completed by the end of June 2021, are expected to be binding, however Tukaki highlighted that the exact terms are yet to be finalised.
ANZASW strongly supports the statement by Tukaki that every child in Aotearoa should be safe and cared for and that it would be incredible to one day reach a point where no children were coming into the care of the state because they were safe within their own home and whānau.
It was also encouraging to hear acknowledgement of the complex and multidimensional aspects that might lead people to becoming in need of assistance of the services of Oranga Tamariki.
ANZASW is hopeful that this newly appointed Board can drive and influence real change. We also view this as an exciting opportunity to publicly lift the importance of the social workers being included in such discussions and decisions. ANZASW recognises and promotes the skills and knowledge of social workers that enables them to implement such change, especially in care and protection.