The Children’s Commissioner, Andrew Becroft had released a report detailing the experiences of children and young people living in secure residential care.
Under the Children’s Commissioner Act 2003, the independant OCC has a particular responsibility to monitor and assess the policies and practices of Oranga Tamariki as well as other non-governmental organisations contracted by Oranga Tamariki to provide care and protection and youth justice services to children, young people, their families and whānau.
Mr Becroft says the report, 'A Hard Place to be Happy', contains important insights from children and young people about their experiences in care and protection premises.
“Children and young people have the right to have their views heard, considered and taken seriously. The voices of the children and young people contained in this report are insistent. They are distressing. We must take them seriously,” says Commissioner Becroft.
The report does not relate youth justice facilities. The children and young people are resident in the facilities because of their complex needs which require highly specialised care along with increased support for their families.
Fifty-two children and young people were interviewed about their experiences of living in one of the five facilities (four are run by Oranga Tamariki and one by Barnardos).
Andrew Becroft says that these children and young people would be better placed in child-centred homes where they have access to a wider range of support.
Oranga Tamariki says it is committed to phasing out the current out-dated locked facilities and replacing them with small community-based homes.