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Oranga Tamariki suggests a significant decrease in the number of children in care is proof its policies are succeeding, but is that the whole story?  

Summarised by Centrist

OT touts a decrease in the number of children in state care by almost a third over a four year period as a success. However, “Oranga Tamariki data implies the situation is improving whereas the Police data implies the situation is deteriorating. They can’t both be right,” writes researcher Lindsay Mitchell. 

From 2019 to 2023, there were fewer under 5-year-olds taken into care, but more acts against them intended to cause injury. This situation appears to particularly affect Māori children. 

“I don’t mind being wrong but it feels like the safety of Māori children is being neglected, perhaps even sacrificed, to prove a political point: that culture matters more than care,” writes Mitchell. 

From 2018 to 2019, there were 891 acts intended to cause injury against 0-4 year-olds according to crime stats. That number rose 45% to almost 1,300 acts from the year June 2022 to June 2023. 

Data from Health New Zealand appears to confirm it is disproportionately Māori children being hospitalised due to domestic violence.

Is the rate of intentional injury increasing for the same reason that OT is taking fewer children into state care? Namely, the drive to leave mainly Māori children with their whanau for cultural reasons?

Read more over at Bassett, Brash, and Hide

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