June 09, 2020
Social workers feel pressure from Oranga Tamariki report
Social workers say they have been unfairly criticised in the Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Te Kuku O Te Manawa report on Oranga Tamariki’s uplift of babies and young children.
The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers says the report singles out social workers as the perpetrators of unprofessionalism, racism and brutality.
It says New Zealand has one of the highest levels of child abuse and resulting child death in the OECD, with Māori over-represented in this data.
There is a real need for a statutory protection system that prioritises the safety of pepi, and in some cases, they must be uplifted.
The association supports the report’s recommendations that changes need to occur within Oranga Tamariki to enable pēpi Māori aged 0-3 months to remain in the care of their whānau.
It says social workers in Oranga Tamariki are exposed to and work within complex, difficult and at times dangerous situations, which may be compounded by child abuse, domestic violence, mental health issues, drug and alcohol use and the associated violence including the use of guns and weapons.
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