Topic: Welfare

$27 million boost for Oranga Tamariki

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Wellington

Oranga Tamariki will receive more than $27-million from the Government to better support children and young people in care or youth justice services. But National's spokesperson for Children Paula Bennett says the government is picking up where National left off.

Minister for Children, Tracey Martin, says there are times in a young person’s life when they need to be uplifted from their current living circumstances.

"For those young people that's a crisis in their lives and we need to have places, safe places that Oranga Tamariki can take them to and know that they will be cared for," she says.

The extra money will be injected into three areas:

- Improving the availability of care placements, especially for kids in emergency situations or with high needs ($15.7m)
- Trialling options for transitions from care to independence for young people ($6.45m)
- Developing a tool to assist decision making in the youth justice system ($1.25m)

"The closer we can keep them to their connections, to their whānau their hapu their iwi then the greater opportunity I think we have at being really successful at changing their long-term outcomes,” says Martin.

“For Māori children particularly this is going to have an impact, for Pasifika children also."

Bennett says Martin shouldn't pretend these are new initiatives. Martin admits it's an extension of our previous work.

"It's not brand new work. We are building on the foundations to take us to the place where we can do better for the young people in our care," says Martin.

This funding was set aside as a contingency in last year's Budget.