Quarterly Report - Dec 2018
CARE AND PROTECTION
We are committed to keeping children in Oranga Tamariki custody safe and to promoting their wellbeing.
The graphs below indicate how we are performing at finding placements for children and young people that are most like home.
Out of home placement type for longer term placements
While the number of children in longer term out of home placements has risen over the last two years, we have largely managed to keep pace with finding preferred placement types, with only a slight increase in the proportion of children in “other” placement types.
What is an out of home placement?
An out of home placement is needed when a child can't live in their family home. This includes:
Family/whānau placements: where a child has been brought into the custody of the Chief Executive, and has been supported to remain living with a member of their whānau as their caregiver.
Non-family/whānau placement: an Oranga Tamariki approved carer provides care for children who are not part of their own whānau. This is in contrast to other carers, who typically work with NGOs to provide care through contracted service arrangements.
Other placements: these can include residences, family/group homes, and contracted NGO services arrangements among others.
Family/whānau placement instability
The vast majority of family/whānau placements are stable each quarter, and placement stability has increased over the last two years. Of those placements which ended, finding alternative placements with other family/whānau has remained fairly static around 40 per cent.
Placement availability on entry to care
It can often take time to agree upon a family/whānau placement, so we often use non-family/whānau carers for a child’s initial placement. Over the last two years, however, we are seeing a slow growth in more early matching into family/whānau placements.
Ethnicity match with caregivers
Our ability to match children with a caregiver of their own ethnicity has kept pace with the increasing number of children in care, leaving proportions relatively steady over the last two years. Matched caregivers include both family/whānau and foster care placements.
Completion status of Gateway Assessment
Our ability to complete gateway needs assessments continues to keep pace with growing numbers of children in care. Overall, the proportion of children in care with completed assessments has been slowly increasing over the last two years, however roughly 60% of assessments are more than two years old.
What is a gateway assessment?
The gateway assessment is a formal needs assessment, covering (where required) health, education, and other needs of the child. Oranga Tamariki then records whether a recommendation has been made for a child to be referred to receive a relevant service for the identified need.
Referral to core health support
Performance for recommending vision, dental and hearing referrals over the last two years remains relatively steady. Anecdotal evidence suggests lack of recommendation for referral in some instances could be due to either the need being met at the time of assessment, or there not being an appropriate service in the area to meet the need identified.
Entries and exits for Out of Home Care
Overall, with the exception of the last quarter, we are generally seeing more entries into out of home placements than exits. A drop in rates of entries to out of home placements during the last quarter, alongside an increase in the number of exits, may indicate we are performing better in supporting families to remain together, or to be reunited following an out of home placement. This is the first time since Oranga Tamariki was formed that entries into out of home care were lower than the number of exits. Increases in exits during the past two December quarters are predominantly attributable to an increase in the number of children being returned home whilst remaining in the custody of the CE (i.e. return/remain placements).
What is a return/remain placement?
A child is in a return/remain placement when they are in the legal custody of the Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive but remain in the care of their immediate family. These placements are used most commonly where we are attempting to support the reunification of a family, while still maintaining legal custody to ensure the child remains safe.