Exclusive: Children's Commissioner demands Oranga Tamariki stops using motel rooms to house kids

The Children's Commissioner is demanding Oranga Tamariki stop using motel rooms to house kids in its care.

Newshub can reveal the Ministry has placed high-needs children in motels 477 times in the last financial year, because there still aren't enough suitable homes.

"Motels are virtually Airbnb for children. It's got to change and it's got to change now," says Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft.

Figures released to Newshub show an average of 40 children a month were put in motels by Oranga Tamariki. The average length of stay was nearly three months.

The Ministry says sometimes motels are the safest option, especially in emergency situations and a child can't be immediately placed.

"It's never acceptable to have temporary accommodation like that for children but it is also not an ideal world that we have facing us," says Oranga Tamariki deputy chief executive Glynis Sandland. 

The Ministry has secured more than 90 extra emergency placement options over the last 12 months which has helped reduce motel use and is planning to build more.

Judge Becroft has commended the progress but says the Ministry isn't moving fast enough. 

"The days of motel use are surely now widely understood to be unacceptable. So we need action and we need it now." 


Contact Newshub with your story tips: