Raw emotion in Parliament over Oranga Tamariki alleged inappropriate sexual behaviour

Two staff have been removed from Oranga Tamariki residences following serious allegations involving inappropriate sexual behaviour. 

Oranga Tamariki has brought in former Police Commissioner Mike Bush to take over leadership of the residences and perform a rapid review. 

The offending came to light after an unannounced monitoring visit from the Children's Commissioner.

Oranga Tamariki was not able to confirm whether the two staff members had been police vetted.

It's the agency tasked with keeping children safe. But it admits it's failed to do that.

"I am incredibly upset about this happening inside Oranga Tamariki. I am very upset. It's a breach of trust," said chief executive Chappie Te Kani.

In early June the agency's leadership was told about a staffer's alleged inappropriate sexual behaviour at a care and protection facility.

A second separate issue was raised after the Children's Commissioner's office visited a different youth justice site last week.

"Two instances too many for me," said Te Kani.

He said so far they know five children have been involved.

Former police commissioner Mike Bush has been called in to investigate 

"To ensure that all of the tamariki, all the young people that are in the residence, the kaimahi, all of the staff, are safe," said Bush.

They do not know how widespread this could be.

Asked if residences are safe for young people, Te Kani said: "Well I can say we have removed those two people who are alleged to have committed these offences from the residences."

The Children's Commissioner says shut the residences down now.

"We're putting our most marginalised children really in places that are more akin to a prison than a therapeutic model of care," said Judge Frances Eivers.

The Children's Minister, Kelvin Davis, said he was confident change is occurring.

"It's a big ship to turn around."

ACT MP Karen Chhour, once a child of the state herself, was on the verge of tears. 

"I am so angry on behalf of these kids. We cannot take that harm back… We haven't even finished apologising for past abuse and the abuse is still happening. 

"Apologies mean nothing if it keeps happening. And nobody seems to want to stand up and take responsibility for this. These are children who rely on us."

Davis said it was "disappointing" that a "small number of individuals has overshadowed the work that Oranga Tamariki has done".

National MP Louise Upston said: "I feel as though my heart has been ripped out, squashed and torn apart because not once did that minister take responsibility. Not once."

Raw political emotion because at the heart of this issue are some of our most vulnerable children.