The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki has revealed that they intend to work with government agencies and other organisations to carefully consider the findings of Coroner Wallace Bain on the death of Moko Rangitoheriri.
Coroner Wallace Bain's key recommendation was for compulsory monitoring of children up to five years old, something Oranga Tamariki will need a multi-agency approach and will be something for the government to consider.
Oranga Tamariki's Deputy Chief Executive for Services for Children and Families North, Glynis Sandland says, "We are heartened he has found most of his other recommendations, made in relation to an earlier inquest into the death of Nia Glassie, are already in place."
She adds, "Our commitment to continuously improving quality practice and supervision will ensure we always improve how we work with children and families. We feel deep sympathy for everyone who loved this little boy. The particular circumstances affected everyone.
"The tragedy was Moko died after repeated abuse and throughout this, no one heard his voice. We acknowledge the work of Coroner Bain and agree with his observation that we as a country have to take further action to keep children safe and provide them with loving homes.
"It’s vital that people report concerns of abuse or neglect, anonymously if they wish, so we can follow up. Oranga Tamariki has driven a number of changes since the deaths of both Nia and Moko. Through our establishment this year, one agency is now responsible for the long-term welfare of at-risk children.
"Our way of working includes ensuring continuous improvement of our social work practice so it is consistently of high quality. Deeply important to our organisation’s development is recognising the mana of every child. We put tamariki first and will challenge when things aren’t right for a child.
"To that end, we are focused on supporting whānau, hapū and iwi to contribute meaningfully to decision making regarding their children and young people. We’re partnering with others, sharing information and working alongside iwi and Māori in ways that haven’t happened before, through successful programmes such as Mokopuna Ora and Hui a Whānau.
"One of our key areas of focus is linking with other government and community organisations to improve services. Prevention and early intervention are also central to what we do.
"We know when we work with at-risk children and families as early as possible; we can make a real difference. For example, Children’s Teams bring together professionals from iwi, health, Police, Justice, Education and social services to create a single plan to help children at risk of abuse or neglect.
"Similarly, before a child is discharged from hospital due to substantiated or suspected abuse, Oranga Tamariki, health professionals and police develop a safety plan."