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Children in Care - published outcomes of complaints

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Read some of the published outcomes of complaints in relation to Children in Care that the Chief Ombudsman has investigated: 

Full Report: He Take Kōhukihuki |A Matter of Urgency

The Chief Ombudsman’s investigation, published in August 2020, which looked at whether there were any systemic issues connected to Oranga Tamariki’s policies, procedures and practices relating to the removal of newborn pēpi under without notice interim custody orders.

Complaint about the actions of Oranga Tamariki in relation to the death of a young child/tamaiti

The Chief Ombudsman’s investigation following complaints about Oranga Tamariki from family members.

Call to avoid the pending removal of a newborn baby

Oranga Tamariki was preparing to uplift a newborn baby but family was now able to care for it. Following inquiries by the Ombudsman, Oranga Tamariki was able to make other arrangements and baby was discharged from hospital with family.

Treatment of disabled mother and uplift of newborn pēpi

A disabled woman and her mother complained to the Ombudsman after Oranga Tamariki uplifted her baby following birth because it believed she was unable to safely parent her child.

Child Youth and Family’s decision to remove child from care

Child, Youth and Family Services, now Oranga Tamariki, apologised and reimbursed a couple’s legal fees following the Ombudsman’s finding that its decision to decline custody of a child was unreasonable.

Cancellation of access between parent and rangatahi due to COVID Alert Level 4 lockdown

A mother who lived in the same city as her son had her face-to-face access cancelled due to lockdown. Oranga Tamariki applied a blanket rule not required by Health Act notices and failed to consider her individual circumstances. Her access was reinstated so the Chief Ombudsman recommended an apology.

Use of incorrect information, lack of trauma-informed practice, failure to assess children’s safety

Oranga Tamariki used incorrect and unverified information about a mother (including at Family Court), failed to assess the safety of her children and did not use trauma-informed practice. It had a poor complaints-handling process and its apology to the mother was inadequate.

Unreasonable actions throughout dealings with custodial caregiver

A custodial caregiver complained to the Chief Ombudsman about Oranga Tamariki. The complaint concerned Oranga Tamariki removing a te tamaiti from her care and its actions after reviewing her case. The Chief Ombudsman found Oranga Tamariki had acted unreasonably throughout its dealings with the complainant.

Request for file from Department of Child, Youth and Family Services

A parent’s request for a file from Child, Youth and Family Services, now Oranga Tamariki, resulted in repeated undertakings to provide information by specific dates. It failed to supply the information or notify the parent it would not meet the timeframe. It acknowledged its error and apologised.

Complaint from a young person in a Care and Protection Residence 

The Ombudsman received a complaint from a young person in a Care and Protection Residence. Planning for placement outside the residence and communication to the young person was found to be unreasonable. A placement was found during the investigation and an apology was made to the young person.

Ministry of Social Development’s Advisory Panel will make administrative change as a result of complaint

The Ombudsman did not consider that a quorum of two panel members resulted in an unfair hearing of the complainant’s complaints. The Ombudsman also found the appointment of the chairperson was not unreasonable. The Ombudsman was critical of the fact that the panel did not appear to consider the complainant’s request for consideration of compensation.

Complaint about the reimbursement of costs when attending the Chief Executive’s Advisory Panel 

A complainant was not informed of the process for reimbursement of costs to attend the Chief Executive’s Advisory Panel. The information sheet provided to attendees was updated.

Request for affidavit of CYFS social worker

An Official Information Act request was made to Child, Youth and Family Services, now Oranga Tamariki, by the grandmother of a child for an affidavit given by a social worker to the Family Court. The request was refused under section 438 of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989 because it was a court document.

Full Practice review of social work practice after notification of investigation 

Parents complained about Oranga Tamariki’s apparent failure to protect a vulnerable child. They reviewed the complaint after notification of the Ombudsman’s investigation and began a full case review. The Chief Ombudsman felt this was a satisfactory resolution.


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