Children's Commissioner reviewing Oranga Tamariki's uplift policies

The Children's Commissioner says he wants a revolution for Māori Tamariki.

Andrew Becroft's office is independently reviewing Oranga Tamariki policies around the care and protection of Maori children under three months old.

He says whanau need to be involved in every step of the process.

"My office has been concerned about this issue for some considerable time, and discussions with several parties involved have heightened the need for a review of Oranga Tamariki's practice when they are notified of serious care and protection concerns for young babies."

The review was sparked by video released last week of an attempted uplift that caused outrage.

"It's been increasingly clear over recent days and weeks that the community as a whole is profoundly uneasy with the way our current care and protection of tamariki Māori is carried out,"said Becroft.

"We believe it is time to examine closely the policies standing behind present practice, and the processes used to implement them, with a view to identifying any necessary change to policy, processes and practice."

The uplift in the video, shot in May, won't be looked at as part of the review as it's presently before the court.

"But the reportage of that situation has generated waves of community concern and anger, especially from iwi," said Becroft. "It deserves a thorough response. Consequently, we have decided to exercise our specific statutory power under the Children's Commissioner Act to monitor and assess the policies of Oranga Tamariki. We have a mandate for precisely this kind of situation."

He says the review will be extensive.

"It will evolve as it normally does, interviews with probably up to four Oranga Tamariki sites around the country, interviews with farmers, hapu, iwi."

Oranga Tamariki is conducting its own review into the May attempted uplift, which happened at Hawke's Bay Hospital.

Law changes are on the horizon to improve the state care of Māori children however. Statutory obligations from July will mandate partnership with Māori and the devolution of resources.

Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft says it's long overdue.

"I hope that our independent overview will come right at the time when the law is making crystal-clear just about the revolutionary approach that is required."