A new iwi-led prevention programme will receive funding from Oranga Tamariki to help reduce the number of tamariki and rangatahi coming into state care, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis has announced.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (Te Rūnanga) will receive $25.9m of Oranga Tamariki funding over three years to improve outcomes for tamariki and whānau in the Ngāi Tahu takiwā (tribal area).
The Whānau as First Navigators programme will build on the great work already underway in the region focussing on a by Māori, for Māori approach.
The announcement is part of a refreshing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between Ngāi Tahu and Oranga Tamariki first signed in 2018.
Since then, the number of Ngāi Tahu tamariki in Oranga Tamariki care has dropped by almost 30 per cent.
“This partnership approach is exactly the kind of thinking that is needed to improve the lives of tamariki and whānau and fix the problems that have long plagued the state care system,” Kelvin Davis said.
“I firmly believe that communities have the answers to these problems and for too long the state has been put at the centre of the system – that has to change.”
The announcement follows on from the Government’s acceptance of all recommendations from the Ministerial Advisory Board set up to provide advice on how to address issues facing Oranga Tamariki.
This will see decision making and resources shifted to communities, a new operating model with better support and training for social workers and an immediate halt to uplifts without proper consultation.
“For decades various reports and reviews have echoed the need for change,” Kelvin Davis said.
“I am committed to seeing us on the road to that change as my time as Minister and this partnership between Ngāi Tahu and Oranga Tamariki gives us a glimpse of what is possible when we work together.”