This young person will die: Judge, Children's Commissioner demand Oranga Tamariki 'do more' to keep young person safe, secure, alive

Asia's Tech News Daily

This young person will die: Judge, Children's Commissioner demand Oranga Tamariki 'do more' to keep young person safe, secure, alive

A Family Court judge and lawyer are gravely concerned a young person will die – either by their own hand or through their dangerous behaviour – because Oranga Tamariki cannot find them a secure place to live.

They say it is simply not safe for the young person to live in the community and have been begging OT for months to find a space for the person in a secure residential facility. So far, however, their cries for help have been repeatedly unanswered.

OT claims it is doing everything it can to protect the young person and there is simply nowhere more secure for them to be placed.

Judge Jane McMeekan was so worried about the young person she alerted the Children’s Commissioner, who said he was not at all satisfied with OT’s care and demanded immediate action.

As of today, the young person is at a property with a 24/7 security guard and a source said their support people were beside themselves with worry, fear and frustration.

The Weekend Herald was granted access to Family Court documents that outline the sad and shocking case a week before a damning review found OT was a “weak, disconnected and unfit” agency.

The young person – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – became a ward of the state under the care of OT in December 2019.

The young person’s parents consented to OT becoming the person’s guardian after it was deemed there was “a real risk to their personal safety” and they were “in danger of physical, sexual and psychological harm”.

The young person’s family wanted to support them but they have complex difficulties and a “major depressive illness”.

A plan was put in place for their care and welfare which was approved by the Family Court.

Three months later that was reviewed by Judge McMeekan, who took over the case to ensure it was handled with consistency.

Initially, the young person was doing well but by March this year they had spiralled and Judge McMeekan was “extremely concerned”.

At the time the young person was living in an OT-supervised group home and while their immediate social workers and supervisors were praised for their work, Judge McMeekan said the young person was “simply not safe” at the property.

The court heard the young person was regularly running away – once for up to a week – and “associating with known child sex offenders and gang members” and using drugs and alcohol.

The young person’s mental health had also declined, with further serious conditions diagnosed and suicidal ideations disclosed.

Judge McMeekan and the young person’s lawyer agreed the young person needed to be housed in a secure residence which they “cannot escape from”.

But an emergency request from their social worker had been turned down because such residences were “at capacity”.

“It is my clear view that at this time [they] cannot be left in the community because of the dangers that poses to [their] wellbeing,” Judge McMeekan said.

By September the situation had become “dire” and the young person was “engaging in high-risk behaviours” again, had absconded from the group home repeatedly and was self-harming.

Their lawyer told the court that “despite all the help” the young person was a “chronic high risk”.

Judge McMeekan said the already “serious concerns” about the young person were further exacerbated because they had disclosed they were hearing voices.

The young person said they did not want to do what the voices were demanding but was “not able to control or stop those urges”.

A further emergency request for a secure placement was denied.

In desperation, Judge McMeekan ordered a copy of the minute from that hearing be sent to OT’s chief executive, Sir Wira Gardiner, Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft and Principal Family Court Judge Jacquelyn Moran.

A week had barely passed though when the situation became “even more critical”.

The young person had absconded from their group home repeatedly and on one occasion police found them with an older man and had to handcuff them to take them home.

This young person will die: Judge, Children's Commissioner demand Oranga Tamariki 'do more' to keep young person safe, secure, alive

Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft. Photo / NZME

Days later the young person took off again and was found attempting to take their own life.

Their exasperated lawyer told the court he was “very concerned [the young person] will die” – despite the “skill and dedication” of the immediate support people.

“I do not think that is being over-dramatic – I share that view,” said Judge McMeekan.

She “escalated” the case to OT”s “national office” and to its chief legal officer.

OT’s response was that it was “best” for the young person to stay put – and again it said there were no more secure beds for the young person.

Judge McMeekan said OT was “endeavouring to see if they can place additional resourcing and supports” at the residence – but said it was “still under consideration”.

One suggestion was a security guard to monitor the young person’s room – which their lawyer suggested would only inflame the already scary situation.

He told the court he would “much prefer that there be a locked door” so he knew the young person was safe.

Their social worker also said the young person needed to be in a secure residence for their “safety and wellbeing” and told the court OT needed to “do more” to keep the troubled young person safe.

“[The lawyer] is concerned that every day [the young person] is not in secure care [they are] at risk – he notes every time [the young person] absconds [they are] harmed in some way.

“[The lawyer’s] view is that OT have a statutory duty to keep [the young person] safe and to keep them alive – he has been wanting them to act for some time now in terms of an appropriate residence.

“The situation is chronic – it is dire. I share [the lawyer’s] concerns that one morning we may wake up to hear of [their] death.”

Judge McMeekan said the most recent absconding showed “exactly how dangerous” the situation was.

But her hands were tied and all she could do was “keep a watching brief” and encourage those looking after the young person daily to do all they could to keep them safe.

A Family Court registrar is now monitoring the case regularly and reports to a judge every few working days.

There is still no secure bed for the young person but a security guard has been contracted for round-the clock monitoring.

The young person’s lawyer could not comment on the case.

OT would not answer specific questions from the Herald but provided a statement.

Deputy chief executive of care services Trish Langridge said OT had a “duty of care” for the young person.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure their safety and wellbeing needs are met,” she said.

“The safety and wellbeing of all children and young people is the priority for OT and we take concerns of this nature very seriously.”

Langridge said secure residential placements are provided for children and young people with “acute care and protection needs” where it has been determined that other care alternatives within the community or whānau are deemed “inadequate or inappropriate”.

Judge Becroft told the Weekend Herald he was “hugely concerned and profoundly worried” for the young person.

After being alerted by Judge McMeekan he contacted OT “urgently” and requested “immediate action” to protect the young person.

He was keeping in regular contact with OT about his “ongoing concerns in relation” to the young person’s care.

“I’ve been assured that there is a 24/7 safety plan in place to keep them safe – however we are not satisfied that the best care or social work has been provided to this young person,” he said.

“These young people deserve the absolute best care we can all possibly provide them and the chance of a good life,” Judge Becroft said.

“That has not been provided to this young person.”

Are you worried about the safety of a child?

If you have concerns about the immediate safety of a child, call 111.

Alternatively contact your local police station – click her for a list.

Or, contact Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children on 0508 326 459 for advice or click here to visit the agency’s website for more information.

This young person will die: Judge, Children's Commissioner demand Oranga Tamariki 'do more' to keep young person safe, secure, alive

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Police responding to incident south of Auckland

Residents in Tuakau, south of Auckland, have been asked to avoid George St while police respond to an incident in the area. Police said they were responding to the incident ... Read more »

Trafalgar Square's Christmas tree is looking a little sad

After a somewhat challenging year, it’s fair to say people around the world are looking forward to some good old Christmas cheer. However, if they were counting on Trafalgar Square’s ... Read more »

Kāpiti Community Foodbank shelves are full after Lions Food Drive

Kāpiti Community Foodbank has six months’ worth of supplies thanks to the annual Lions Food Drive. A record 600+ banana boxes of food were collected during the day-long campaign on ... Read more »

Solomon Islands crisis: NZ to stay out of domestic politics - Nanaia Mahuta

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the New Zealand Defence Force and police personnel being sent to the Solomon Islands will maintain peace rather than get involved in their domestic ... Read more »

US man steals insomnia and erectile dysfunction medicines

A US man has been charged with theft after fleeing a pharmacy with medicines to treat insomnia and erectile dysfunction. 36-year-old Marc Shutta, of Bethesda in Maryland, ran from the ... Read more »

Maunu dairy robbed by young trio allegedly armed with shotgun

Staff at a Whangārei dairy were forced to flee their store after being confronted by a trio of young men armed with what appeared to be a shotgun. The three ... Read more »

Pine tree falls on parked car in Whanganui

For one unlucky car owner, this was not the tree they might have been expecting around Christmas. A large pine tree has snapped off at the base and fallen on ... Read more »

Milk prices expected to reach record levels

Milk price predictions continue to rise with ANZ bumping up its 2021-22 forecast by 60c this week to $8.80/kg ms. That put the bank’s forecast just below the upper range ... Read more »

Sir Ian Taylor: The warning we should have heeded in May 2020

OPINION: Prime Minister thank you for your response to the initial nine questions I sent through a few days ago. I did note with some interest that the response appears ... Read more »

Festive houses now on show with Light Up Rotorua Christmas Lights Trail

People can now jump in their cars and make their way around the city to enjoy a trail of twinkling lights and festive decorations adorning houses. The Light Up Rotorua ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Nelson school expects up to 40 close contacts of case

A Nelson school closed after a staff member tested positive for Covid-19 anticipates up to 40 students and staff may be close contacts. Enner Glynn School is one of two ... Read more »

Bernadine Oliver-Kerby and William Waiirua to join new AM show in 2022

It’s been a turbulent year for the AM show, which is set to rebrand as an all-new morning show in 2022, simply called AM. And now Discovery has today announced ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Hard choices facing rodeo organisers

The southern rodeo season hangs in the balance as organisers weigh up whether they can operate under new Covid-19 crowd restrictions following a string of cancellations. Already, several have cancelled ... Read more »

Covid-19 delta: Hospitality sector 'devastated' after being excluded from Auckland stimulus package

As hospitality businesses around Auckland prepare to open to customers tomorrow for the first time in 108 days, the Restaurant Association says they are devastated after hearing the industry is ... Read more »

Covid 19 coronavirus: Despite variants, Singapore's strategy on track

When Singapore embarked upon its strategy of living with Covid-19, backed by one of the world’s leading vaccine programmes, the wealthy city-state saw a spike in its rate of infections, ... Read more »

Kelvyn Eglinton: Growing sense of inequity, exacerbated by Covid, is undermining trust across the board

OPINION:Kia ora tatou everyone. The sharp end of the Covid-19 pandemic is upon us, as the vaccination drive and lockdown fatigue prompt talk of “a division in New Zealand society” ... Read more »

Barfoot & Thompson data: Auckland average house prices up 18.5% annually:

Auckland house sales volumes have surged and prices are up 18.5 per cent annually according to the city’s largest agency which says more high-priced sales upped latest figures. Barfoot & ... Read more »

Covid-19 vaccine for children: Rollout timeframe helps ensure safety, says immunologist

Additional safety checks on the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine for children are the reason for the long timeframe for the rollout, says an immunologist. In the next two to three weeks, ... Read more »

Cookbook author Chelsea Winter expecting second child with partner Douglas Renall

Cookbook author Chelsea Winter has revealed some exciting personal news just in time for the festive season. Winter shared a gorgeous photo of herself posing in front of a Christmas ... Read more »

Glen Eden shooting: Man shot and killed by police named as Tex 'Rex' Witika

Police have named a man shot and killed by officers in West Auckland this week. He was Tex “Rex” Witika, of Auckland. He was 55. Witika allegedly shot at police ... Read more »

Tennis: WTA suspends all tournaments in China over Peng Shuai concerns

In the strongest public stand against China taken by a sports body, the head of the women’s professional tennis tour announced that all WTA tournaments there would be suspended because ... Read more »

Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal: How Covid has changed the game

The Tauranga Community Foodbank is bracing itself for even higher demand as the new Covid-19 traffic light system starts, with fears that it won’t have enough to serve the community’s ... Read more »

Alec Baldwin breaks down in first interview since Rust shooting

Alec Baldwin has broken down in tears as he spoke about the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in his first official interview since the tragic accidental shooting, and denied reports ... Read more »

Top tips for foodies embarking on an NZ road trip

One of the best things about any incredible journey by road is punctuating the driving with generously rationed eating breaks, and frequent stops at places that proffer the best local ... Read more »

Screening Guide: Mariah's back, Campion's Western, deciphering clues and a fight to the death

Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues(Apple TV+) If all you want for Christmas is more Mariah Carey then your festive wish is about to come true. From tomorrow you can unwrap ... Read more »

Kaipaki Dairies are reducing plastic waste and providing better, whole milk with new system

In just 12 weeks of operation two guys have saved 700,000 plastic milk bottles from being produced and Te Awamutu locals now have the chance to get their own whole ... Read more »

Rotary's One Million Masks project helping communities in need

What started as facilitating the donation of masks to Fiji has turned into the One Million Masks project for Palmerston North’s Venky Kannan. The Rotary area governor and Porirua Rotarian ... Read more »

Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Confidence high vaccination rates making a big impact as the country moves to traffic light system tomorrow

High vaccination rates are making a big impact on Covid with both cases numbers and hospitalisations levelling on the day before the country moves to the new traffic light and ... Read more »

Kiwiburn cancelled due to ethical concerns over Covid 19 risk

Kiwiburn has been cancelled amid Covid-19 uncertainty, with organisers saying the event had the potential to be unethical. The festival was scheduled for January in Hunterville – but in a ... Read more »

Rep Talk with Nadine Rayner: Mr Badger and Little Fox Cub

Whanganui Repertory Theatre is in rehearsal for its upcoming production of Fantastic Mr Fox. “When I saw it in the paper I thought I’d love to go and see it ... Read more »

Dr Ashley Bloomfield on Omicron

New Zealand's director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB he was keeping an open mind about Omicron. Video / Newstalk ZB Read more »

Film review: Paul Verhoeven gives us nunsense with 'Benedetta'

The controversial film Benedetta has opened in the US, but Mark Kennedy from the AP finds little substance behind the hype. Christmas is just around the corner and Paul Verhoeven ... Read more »

Teens walk away from horror crash in Christchurch

One second Jacob Ohs was driving along Johns Rd (State Highway 1) in Christchurch, the next the car he was in was skidding upside down after colliding with another vehicle. ... Read more »

Tel Aviv tops World's expensive city list, Auckland fast closing

A coastal Israeli city has topped the list of most expensive cities to live in, for the first time ever. Tel Aviv has leapfrogged Paris, Singapore and Zurich in the ... Read more »

Destiny Church pastor Leon Wharewehe Samuels to fight Covid-19 public health order charges

Destiny Church Pastor Leon Samuels, who has been charged with twice breaching a Covid-19 Public Health order leaving a Tauranga court. Photo /NZME A_041121gn05bop.JPG A Tauranga Destiny Church pastor accused ... Read more »

Football: Match schedule for 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup in New Zealand and Australia confirmed

New Zealand will host a total of 29 matches at the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, including some of the big games of the tournament. The event, which will be ... Read more »

Rugby: Ardie Savea and Sarah Hirini headline NZ Rugby award nominations

All Blacks flanker Ardie Savea and Black Ferns sevens captain Sarah Hirini headline the list of nominations for this year’s New Zealand Rugby awards. Savea will go head-to-head with Will ... Read more »

Whakatane CBD fire: Firefighter called to fight blaze at own business

By Whakatane Beacon The owners of six Whakatane businesses are picking through the charred remains of their livelihoods this week after a fire ripped through the Bridger Building on The ... Read more »

Man arrested after laser shone at rescue helicopter in Dunedin

Police have slammed the “idiotic” behaviour of a man who admitted shining a laser at a rescue helicopter flying over South Dunedin early today. An Otago Rescue Helicopter pilot reported ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: West Auckland primary student tests positive to virus

A West Auckland child in junior primary school is the latest young student to test positive for Covid in the city. Whenuapai School sent an urgent notice to its parents ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic