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Children in care

Ā mātou mahi mō ngā tamariki e tiakina ana

Concerned about the safety of a child or young person?

If you are concerned about the immediate safety of a child/tamaiti or young person/rangatahi, freephone:

  • Oranga Tamariki on 0508 326 459 or
  • New Zealand Police on 111

Children in Care 

Anyone involved with Oranga Tamariki | Ministry for Children (Oranga Tamariki) and its care or custody providers can speak with an investigator from the Ombudsman.

The investigator can give you advice and talk with you to understand if the Ombudsman can help. Where the Ombudsman can’t help you directly our investigators will find someone who can.

Even if you are not ready to make a complaint yet you can contact us to talk it through and our investigators can give you advice.

Our investigators are trained and experienced in responding to and investigating complaints about Oranga Tamariki and its care or custody providers. They understand that it can be difficult when making a complaint.

The Ombudsman encourages children/tamariki and young people/rangatahi to have support people with them during this process (it must be someone trusted; for example a member of your family, whānau, or a professional such as a teacher or youth worker). 

If you do not have a support person and would like one, discuss this with the investigator.

The Ombudsman can also consider concerns about other government agencies, like Work and Income, Kainga Ora and schools. You can talk to our investigators about that too.

Rest assured, your privacy and mana will be protected and any information you share with the Ombudsman is confidential.

Who can make a complaint

You can make a complaint to the Ombudsman if you are unhappy about something that Oranga Tamariki or one of its care or custody providers has done or decided that you feel is unfair or not right.

Complaints can be made by:

  • children/tamariki and young people/rangatahi (or a trusted adult on their behalf)
  • family, whanau and extended family
  • caregivers
  • professionals or advocacy groups
  • anyone else.

Note: If you are a child/tamaiti or young person/rangatahi (or you are a trusted adult contacting us on their behalf), you can make a complaint directly to the Ombudsman. You don’t have to have discussed your complaint with Oranga Tamariki or its care or custody provider before talking to us.

Our complaint process 

These info sheet and poster resources have been designed to give you an overview of the complaint process.

View a diagram of the full complaint process

View a simplified diagram designed for children and young people

Frequently asked questions

Speaking to us 

You’ll always be treated respectfully and courteously when you speak to us. We’re here to help you so when you talk to us please:

  • treat us with respect and courtesy
  • help us to help you, such as when more information is needed from you
  • understand that the Ombudsman does not tolerate any kind of abuse of their staff.

Working together

There are three places that work together to check on things for children and young people in care or custody:

  • the Ombudsman listens and helps with problems and concerns for children in care
  • Mana Mokopuna - Children and Young People’s Commission is an advocate for all children, and
  • Aroturuki Tamariki - the Independent Children’s Monitor checks that organisations working with children and young people in care are meeting their needs and improving outcomes.

Read more about the oversight of Oranga Tamariki

Check out a video made for children and young people

Contact us

There are many ways you can speak to the Ombudsman about Oranga Tamariki or one of its care or custody providers.

The Ombudsman can be contacted Monday to Friday, 8:30am – 5pm (outside of these hours please leave a message and we will contact you on our next working day)

You can contact us by:

  • Complaints about Oranga Tamariki or one of its care or custody providers: freephone 0800 184 184
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Making an online complaint
  • Postage: The Ombudsman, PO Box 10152, Wellington 6143
  • For general enquiries and complaints freephone: 0800 802 602

If you are emailing, making a complaint online or posting a letter please include your preferred method of contact and your preferred time of day to be contacted.

If you are a child/tamaiti or young person/rangatahi you can also free text 8951 for a call back. More information on how the Ombudsman can help you is also available on

Responding to children/tamariki and young people/rangatahi is our priority, with our aim to make first contact within 24 hours of you contacting us. We will get in touch in the way you wish and at the preferred times you have asked for.

Video on how to make a complaint


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