(National Party media release)

Minister for Children Kelvin Davis needs to explain why the care of New Zealand children in state custody has not improved under his Government, National’s spokesperson for Children/Oranga Tamariki Harete Hipango says.

The second annual report from Aroturuki Tamariki, the Independent Children’s Monitor, shows there has not been a significant improvement in outcomes for children in care.

“It’s appalling that this report finds that Oranga Tamariki is still not meeting the minimum standards for children in care,” Ms Hipango says.

“Kelvin Davis needs to explain why Oranga Tamariki is failing to deliver better outcomes for these children, despite increasing the budget significantly since Labour first came into office.

“Some of the major failings include social workers not spending enough time with children, only 53 per cent of children are registered with a GP or medical centre, Oranga Tamariki doesn’t know if the health or education needs of children are being met, and caregivers are not always assessed before children move in.

“This is both heart-breaking and astounding. Labour is failing these children. There may be a new Labour leader, but it is the same team that has failed to deliver for the past five years.

“National will deliver better outcomes for children in state care. We will ensure there is a Minister for Children who puts children’s needs first. We will reinstate the Children’s Commissioner and ensure the best resources are targeted to our most vulnerable young New Zealanders.”