Oranga Tamariki uplifts labelled 'national disaster' by Whānau Ora and family law expert

Source: Breakfast

A damning report into Oranga Tamariki's uplift of a newborn baby from its mother in May has been described as a "national disaster" by a family law expert, and Whānau Ora agrees. 

The Oranga Tamariki report released last week detailed a litany of mistakes made in how social workers dealt with the family and finds systems simply didn’t work.

Today family law expert Professor Mark Henaghan told TVNZ1's Breakfast it's sad that such uplifts of children from their families have been going on for some time. 

"I think we all feel a responsibility here, everyone of us loves little children," said Professor Henaghan from the University of Auckland.

"I'm sure there's caring family members who want to do that care and without anyone having a say in that process it really has been a kind of national disaster in my view.

Whānau Ora's commissioning agency chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait agreed with Prof Henaghan, and said she has no trust in Oranga Tamariki. 

"They've got no good track history, you wouldn't want to trust your children with them. If there is an issue with safety of children do not go anywhere near Oranga Tamariki," said Ms Raukawa-Tait.

"As the professor said, it's a national disaster, it's a national disgrace."

Moving forward, Ms Raukawa-Tait said the focus should be on the children, not on Oranga Tamariki. 

"We should be focusing on how do we strengthen our homes, how do we make sure that young people get good parenting skills. That's where the focus and indeed the money and the resources should be going.

"But we're focused on trying to assist this government department, this huge government department to be better and smarter in uplifting our children. No way."

Last week Organa Tamariki chief executive Graine Moss says she’s deeply saddened by the findings of the report.

“I know we have hurt this whānau and I’m truly sorry. Our work here wasn’t of a high standard and our usual checks and balances also failed.”