There are many government organisations which work in social services and, along with the SWRB which is a Crown entity, either focus on social work or the whānau and communities they are involved with.
These include Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Social Development, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC), the Ombudsman, and the Independent Children’s Monitor (ICM).
In March 2019, the Government agreed to strengthen independent oversight of Oranga Tamariki through improved advocacy for tamariki and rangatahi, independent complaints avenues, and universal monitoring of the care and protection and youth justice system.
Three agencies make up this oversight function:
- The Office of the Children’s Commissioner continues to carry out advocacy for tamariki and rangatahi, and will have an expanded role and responsibilities under new legislation.
- The Ombudsman will have enhanced oversight of complaints for children and young people in the care or custody of the state.
- The Independent Children’s Monitor (the Monitor) has been set up to monitor the system incorporating the National Care Standards (NCS) regulations, providing assurance and reporting on the performance of organisations that look after our tamariki and rangatahi, to make sure they are doing what they need to, to enable them to reach their potential and thrive.
The Monitor became operational on 1 July 2019 and is in the early stages of setting up how it works, currently monitoring two of the NCS regulations, which focus on allegations of abuse or neglect of tamariki in care.
From December 2020, it will monitor all of the NCS regulations. The Monitor monitors the system of state care, not individual children. It collects data and information from agencies which have care and custody, and will speak with those caring for tamariki, parents, whānau and, of course, tamariki and rangatahi to validate this data. The Monitor then reports its findings to the Minister for Children and publishes all reports on its website.
The Monitor’s tikanga approach ensures its operating values lay a sound foundation for it to work with tamariki and rangatahi, and those who hold their best interest at heart – their whanau, hapū, iwi and communities. It focuses on ensuring that relationships are built on respect and trust, reciprocity, a common focus, cohesiveness and proactive engagement, along with effective processes for talking, learning and working together, contributing to successful outcomes.
To find out more about the Monitor, visit http://www.icm.org.nz and subscribe to its newsletter.
The SWRB works with two professional bodies for social workers – the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW), and the Tangata Whenua Social Workers Association (TWSWA). To find out more about what they do, please visit their websites.