The Human Rights Commission is echoing the call of the Children’s Commissioner for better and more consistent care and conditions in the New Zealand’s Oranga Tamariki residences.
The State of Care: A focus on Oranga Tamariki’s secure residences report, released by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner today, shows that the conditions for children in the residences are prison-like, dated and bleak.
Chief Commissioner David Rutherford says the report is consistent with the findings of an independent report the Human Rights Commission released last month, that looked at the use of seclusion and restraint in a range of facilities – including secure residences.
“The State of Care report is another important indication of the need for changes to be made when it comes to how we are treating some of our most vulnerable. Particularly children and young people,” Mr Rutherford says.
“The report has identified several issues that continue to be a common theme across a number of New Zealand’s detention facilities including the inconsistency in staff responses and training and a disproportionate use of seclusion and restraint.
“The children and young people being held in these facilities are at the very start of their lives – a time when they are impressionable. It is vital that the services they need, and the environment they are spending time in is conducive to developing positive and well-rounded adults,” Mr Rutherford says.
The Human Rights Commission echoes the Children’s Commissioner’s call for the Oranga Tamariki monitor to be independent and properly resourced.
“The future of these vulnerable children and young people will depend on how well the monitoring systems for Oranga Tamariki are established and if the appropriate level of resourcing for these systems is put in place.
“Additionally, independent monitoring of these residences will ensure that the services provided are consistent and have the best outcomes of children at their heart. Part of that will also be ensuring the Office of the Children’s Commissioner is given increased resources to monitor all places where children are in detention or care,” Mr Rutherford says.