Oranga Tamariki ignoring safety report, grandmother says

1:20 pm on 7 August 2018

A Hutt Valley grandmother says an Oranga Tamariki safety report recommends her grand-daughter should be in her care full-time.

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The woman has been to court to see an Oranga Tamariki safety assessment which she says recommends that her grand-daughter should be in her care full-time (stock photo). Photo: janfaukner/123RF

But she's not, six months on from when authorities intervened over violence and drug use at the house where the teenager spends most of her time.

The grandmother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, first spoke to RNZ last week.

Since then, she had been to court to see the safety assessment, called a section 132 report.

"The position of the ministry at the moment is that she should live with me full time, that would be the safest place for her to be, and that we should both be supported by different agencies through that process."

Oranga Tamariki said it would like to have input but would need names and a signed privacy waiver from the woman to talk about the details.

Family Court lawyers have been speaking to RNZ about chronic delays at Oranga Tamariki and also, though less so, at the court, that they say are putting children at unnecessary risk.

Long delays have caused problems for families in Wairarapa, for instance.

The Hutt Valley grandmother said she was not interviewed as part of the agency's safety assessment, which she found puzzling.

She was also surprised to find the section 132 report named the wrong man as the girl's father. "Probably just people not doing their job properly," she said.

"I had to ring them after I had read the section 132 to let them know about the mistakes that were in it."

Oranga Tamariki did not inform her it was doing a section 132 interview with her grand-daughter, she claimed.

"I was at work, my grand-daughter was at home, they just said ... can we call in and have a chat with her."

She had requested the girl's file under the Official Information Act, concerned there might be prejudicial social worker comments about her interactions with the agency in it, and that the information was so "disjointed" and its handling so affected by high staff turnover that "no one knew the whole story".

The grandmother said she rejected the social worker's suggestion on Friday that she speak to a supervisor, saying that supervisor's promises several months ago, to look after her grand-daughter, had not been borne out.

"It's chaos," she said. "We just totally have no faith in the process at all now.

"It's got to the stage where we almost don't expect any better from them."

Oranga Tamariki has said it was committed to meeting court timeframes for providing section 132 reports. It also said in the past year its social workers had held more than 8300 Family Group Conferences.

Social worker numbers have hovered at around 1300, so this works out at each social worker running six FGCs a year, or one every eight weeks or so.