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Dingwall Trust was excited to welcome a team from the Independent Children’s Monitor’s – Te Mana Whakamaru Tamariki Motuhake – office this week.

Awhina is Principal Advisor Operational Policy and Practice at the ICM and she and her colleagues were seeking input on coming up with the big questions that will form an evaluation framework for monitoring the National Care Standards.

Awhina was accompanied by: Katrina Snowden, Senior Monitor; Arthur Grooby, Principal Analyst; and Kelly Metcalf, Principal Advisor.

The ICM is responsible for making sure agencies that care for tamariki adhere to the standards and do everything they can so tamariki reach their potential and thrive.

Over two days, the team met with tamariki, whānau, caregivers, social workers, youth workers and other staff. Those groups got to have their say on changes to the monitor’s responsibilities when the Oversight of the Oranga Tamariki System and Children and Young People’s Commission Bill becomes law.

Fantastic to hear from staff working with tamariki

Awhina says the team had an awesome experience talking to staff and tamariki at Dingwall Trust and enjoyed incredible manaakitanga while there.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity to talk to staff who are working with tamariki and whānau every day – the people who have boots on the ground. It is a good reminder that the big systems questions we will ask must align with the reality of what is needed at ground level to improve outcomes for tamariki.”

“Our evidence gathering needs to generate change on the important issues at ground level to be successful.”

Awhina says the dedicated Dingwall staff were generous with their time and listening to them made her and her colleagues feel even more passionate about wanting to get the big questions right. However, it did bring home there is still much work to do for all agencies to improve outcomes and better collaboration will be essential for success.

Later in the year The ICM team will come back to agencies, iwi and community groups consulted with around the country and let them know the questions they will be asking in future monitoring and evidence gathering.

Belonging, wellbeing, growth and empowerment

Dingwall Trust CEO Claudine Young is delighted the community’s collective experience will feed into the evaluation framework and welcomes the ICM’s focus on the nature of care – or how tamariki experience care.

“The ICM’s journey to research an effective evaluation method that brings about better outcomes for tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau, mirrors Dingwall’s own transformation during the past three years.

“We have also gone through a process of creating a new practice framework and have aligned our outcome pillars of ‘belonging, wellbeing, growth and empowerment,’ to those of the Independent Children’s Monitor. We have also changed and strengthened our policies and procedures to support our practice to achieve these outcomes.

“Since its inception in 2019, we have enjoyed open and fruitful dialogue with the ICM and believe that working together will help bring about more hopeful futures for tamariki and rangatahi who have experienced care.”

Dingwall Trust is also now actively conducting its own outcome measurement evaluations every six months, with the inaugural baseline report due for release shortly.

You can visit the ICM website here

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Awhina Buchanan and her colleagues from the Independent Children’s Monitor office meet with caregivers and other front-facing staff at Dingwall Trust