6 Aug 2020

Ombudsman discusses daming report on Oranga Tamariki

From Checkpoint, 5:07 pm on 6 August 2020

Oranga Tamariki has been routinely taking new born pēpi from their parents without any warning, using court orders obtained without whānau having a say, according to a critical report from the Chief Ombudsman. 

The report - He Take Kohukihuki, A matter of urgency - found in most cases the Ministry knew about the mother's pregnancy months in advance and there was time to involve the parents and whānau in decisions about what was best for the baby.

Instead decisions were made late, without expert advice or independent scrutiny and in most cases a without notice application was made to the court for custody.

Section 78 applications for interim custody are supposed to be reserved for the most serious and urgent cases where there are no other options.

The files of 74 babies aged up to 30 days old - from a two-year period ending in June 2019 were reviewed for the report. 75 percent of them were physically removed from their parents.

Chief Ombudsman Judge Peter Boshier talks to Lisa Owen.