Oranga Tamariki - new agency aims to improve lives of vulnerable youth

By Ani-Oriwia Adds
  • Wellington

The Governments active engagement with rangatahi who have their own personal experiences within the state care system has allowed for real experiences to influence changes in the legislation as well as new focuses in the Oranga Tamariki strategy.

Tupua Urlich, who was raised through foster care, is sharing his experiences to help draft and modernise the legislation alongside the government.

Urlich says, "There's been a whole lot of reviews of child youth and family in the past. This is the first time they’ve actually said “Hold on this whole system isn't working. It’s not working for tamariki, its not working for social workers, it’s not working for any of us so instead of trying to change little bits of a broken system lets build a new one on firm foundations."

The Governments active engagement with rangatahi who have their own personal experiences within the state care system has allowed for real experiences to influence changes in the legislation as well as new focuses in the Oranga Tamariki strategy.

Prime Minister Bill English says, "The extrinsic humanity and people of our families and young people that should determine what government does and today we are here because so many people have been wiling and able to re-think how we do things and that takes some courage."

Urlich says that upon attending multiple meetings with Minister Tolley, there were times where she would break into tears after hearing their stories. 

Urlich says “I think they realize was more than a story, its our lives and that comes at a cost. That's cost for us is their trust, we've trusted in them now its up to them to deliver and if they don't then we will know that they don't care. 

We’ve trusted in them with our stories, and now its up to them to deliver, and if they don’t then we will know that they don’t care.”

Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft says the organisation must deliver for Maori and greater iwi involvement will be vital.