Up to 30 foster children a day living in motels due to lack of carers

Between 20-30 children in state care are living in motels every day, due to a lack of foster caregivers, according to Oranga Tamariki.

Speaking to Newshub Nation, Children's Minister Tracey Martin admitted the Ministry was not fulfilling its promise to vulnerable children, who should in the care of a loving family, not kept in motel rooms.

Ms Martin couldn't say how prevalent that was across the country, but said it was a "major concern".

She blamed a low number of caregivers, revealing, of the 1000 sought since the Ministry's formation last year, only 150 had been recruited.

"For us to not be able to put young people in motel rooms, we need to have more caregivers," she said. "For us to have more caregivers, we need to be able to make sure that they can be supported."

While work was under way to remedy what she called a "massively broken system" and provide support to caregivers, Ms Martin didn't know how long it would take.

"When Oranga Tamariki was formed just over a year ago, [the support system] was not in place. We still haven't got it in place."

But for some, including Ministry social workers, it can't come quick enough.

A social worker described the situation to Newshub Nation as "desperate", with massive caseloads limiting the time caseworkers could spend with each child they were assigned to.

One caregiver said their child couldn't meet their social worker for eight months. When another asked for a cot, they were told to put a mattress on the floor.

Ms Martin was unsure how many more social workers were needed to lessen the pressure, but Oranga Tamariki said, while 446 social workers had joined the Ministry in the past year, 246 had left in the same period.

Newshub Nation.

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