More than a hundred children in state care were harmed, some on more than one occasion, in the first three months of the year.

Oranga Tamariki has released its third Safety of Children in Care report which shows from January to March 2019, 103 children were harmed.

• 16 children had findings of neglect

• 33 children had findings of emotional harm


• 54 children had findings of physical harm

• 19 children had findings of sexual harm

As at the end of March there were 6400 children and young people in care and protection custody. Another 170 young people are in youth justice custody of the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki.

All of the children who suffered from neglect, such as a lack of supervision or inadequate food, were aged under 14 years, with the majority of them being younger than 10.

The vast majority, 14 of the 16 children, had been in arrangements where they remained in the care of their immediate family (usually parents) while being in the legal custody of the Chief Executive.

Out of the 23 instances of neglect, 19 were caused by the parents as caregivers.

And of those 19 instances 14 related to drug use.

Some of the incidents of neglect related to a failure to provide the right care for kids with specific health needs.

Of the 33 children who suffered emotional harm, there were twice as many girls as boys.


Nearly two thirds of the children who were physically harmed were aged over 10.

The majority of children who were sexually harmed were aged 14 years or over.

Five times more girls than boys experienced sexual harm.

In the first Safety of Children in Care report, from July to September 2018, 130 children and young people in care had findings of harm.

In the next quarter, from October to December 2018, 97 children and young people in care had findings of harm.

In each report card to date, more than 60 per cent of the children harmed have been Māori.

Oranga Tamariki Deputy Chief Executive Voices of Children Hoani Lambert said the collection and public reporting of this data is vital.

"We're releasing this information because we want to be open, transparent and learn from it. Our goal is to understand the level and nature of the harm and to reduce it.

"The conversations surrounding this are not easy ones to have, but the more people who engage in issues about child safety and wellbeing, the more likely it is that change will happen."

As an organisation Oranga Tamariki says it has begun to make improvements in how it supports children in care, their whānau and caregivers. However, this report showed there was more work to do.