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In Response To The Oranga Tamariki Whistleblower Story

The members of the Youth Work professional association Korowai Tupu have seen the Newsroom article and on the face of it the inexcuseable actions included. We tautoko the person who has brought to light this practice and are most concerned for the young person/people involved, and others who may have had similar experiences.

This behaviour is not consistent with Youth Work and is not how Youth Work is, or should be practiced. Youth Work upholds the national princples of youth development, Mana Taiohi as well as the Code of Ethics for Youth Work in Aotearoa. Korowai Tupu condems abusive treatment of rangatahi who should be safe in the care of Oranga Tamariki by any professional, especially those who hold the title of youth worker. This is not youth work, and the people engaging in these practices are not youth workers.

We strongly urge those working alongside rangatahi in formal settings to work towards membership of Korowai Tupu, in recognition of safe, skilled, ethical practice. There are a range of evidence-based, highly respected national qualifications in Youth Work from certificate-level, through diploma-level to degrees that can be accessed full time or on the job.

We acknowledge that Youth Work takes place in a number of different settings within Oranga Tamariki and that more infrastructure is needed to support professional Youth Work to thrive. We know that there is a great appetite within Oranga Tamariki for change, that this change is coming from a range of levels, and professional youth workers working within Oranga Tamariki are a key part of this change. We acknowledge past and on-going kōrero with Oranga Tamariki to clarify the role of youth workers within their organisation, and to differentiate between those practicing professional youth work and those assigned the title of youth worker inaccurately.

We hope that together, we can make these changes rapidly, and effectively.
Most of all, we want rangatahi in care to be safe.

Korowai Tupu is the professional association for Youth Work in Aotearoa. Our members meet the standards set by our Core Competencies, are accountable to the Youth Work Code of Ethics and are committed to an ongoing professional development. Korowai Tupu sits under the unbrella of Ara Taiohi, the peak body for youth development in Aotearoa.

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