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Source: Public Service Association (PSA)

The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi welcomes the initial report of the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board, Kahu Aroha.

PSA acknowledges the work of the advisory board and the care they have taken to understand the complex issues faced by Oranga Tamariki.

PSA general and Rūnanga convenors for Oranga Tamariki, Helen Foley and Bronny Pegler (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne Nui) are encouraged by the recommendations in the report. 

National convenor, Helen Foley says, “There is nothing more important than the children and families we work with, they are the reason we come to work every day.

This report validates PSA members, who have been raising issues around workload pressures and the corporatisation of statutory social work, which has resulted in the diminution of the social work profession. 

The report is clear that Oranga Tamariki needs to trust and value the professional judgement of its social workers. It is time we are trusted to use our skills, experience and wisdom to support children and families.”

National Rūnanga convenor, Bronny Pegler is heartened that the report not only captures the voices and struggles of kaimahi, but has also restored the dawning light of Puao Te Ata Tu.

“The report reveals the profound understanding of the place tamariki and rangatahi have in Māori society and the relationship with whānau, hapū and iwi.  

It is important that PSA is meaningfully involved in the implementation of the recommendations and any pieces of mahi that come out of it.  

It is appropriate that the state is not stepping away from its responsibility for whānau and mokopuna, and it is correct and timely to be shifting its focus to building stronger communities and relationships.”

PSA national secretary Kerry Davies says, “Social workers work long hours in very difficult situations, often to the detriment of their own lives and families.

The PSA has consistently raised issues of work pressure with Oranga Tamariki and its predecessor organisations, as well as with various inquires. If the recommendations in this report are implemented, social workers and other staff within Oranga Tamariki will be supported to work sustainably, and properly resourced.

“We are also pleased to see the report acknowledge that the care and protection of children is a society wide job. Social workers who work in organisations outside Oranga Tamariki are also involved with families and must be supported. A profession-wide solution and workforce plan is needed, and we welcome this.”

Our experience in the community public sector is that services are under-funded and over-stretched. Remedying this will be vital if the report’s recommendations are to succeed.”

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

What is the most important thing in this world? It is people, it is people, it is people.