June 19, 2019
Ombudsman steps in to baby grab row
The Chief Ombudsman is conducting a own wide-ranging and independent investigation into the steps Oranga Tamariki takes when newborn babies are removed.
Peter Boshier says his investigation will provide a broader overview than inquiries by the agency’s chief social worker and the Commissioner for Children.
He told Parliament's governance and administration committee yesterday that he started the work two weeks ago ahead of a change on July 1 that will give him a greater degree of oversight over Oranga Tamariki, including reviewing complaints and conducting investigations.
There has been a great deal of public concern following an attempt by Oranga Tamariki to remove a week old baby from its mother in Hawke's Bay Hospital last month, and the public needs assurance the right policies and processes are in place.
His investigation will not focus on the actions of individuals involved in the Hawke's Bay case, but will instead look into the circumstances faced by all newborns and their whānau.
Judge Boshier says his powers allow him to examine Oranga Tamariki's interactions with other agencies, such as district health boards, in the removal of newborn babies.
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