Children in care messages for stakeholders 260811

By Parentline, 29 August 2011

Abuse of children in care data

Yesterday we called to let you know we are releasing information to media about the number of children in care who have been abused.

The information has been sent to Michelle Duff at the Dominion Post, Paloma Migone at Fairfax and Anna Leask at the New Zealand Herald.

Below is a summary of the data and key messages.

Key messages:

  • The vast majority of caregivers do an extraordinary job.
  • They open up their homes to children in need of safe and secure care, giving them the grounding they need to succeed in life.
  • Child, Youth and Family works with 3,500 caregivers, who care for around 3,900 children.
  • The occurrence of a child abused in care is extremely rare and the numbers very small.
  • The number of Child, Youth and Family caregivers involved equates to 0.75 percent, which is at the lowest end of the international range.  The international range is 0.5 to seven percent.
  • That said, one child hurt in foster care is one too many and it’s taken very seriously.


The top line numbers released in the OIA are:

  • 30 children or young people were abused in the last year by a Child, Youth and Family approved caregiver.
  • These 30 cases involved a total of 26 Child, Youth and Family caregivers.
  • The review also found a further 41 children and young people in Child, Youth and Family care were abused by third parties, including: other children or young people, and other adults in the community.



Below is a summary of findings by abuse type:


Investigation finding type Approved non- family/whānau caregiver Approved  family/whānau caregiver
Emotionally abused 2 0
Physically abused 13 14
Sexually abused 1 0
Neglected abused 0 0
Total number of children 16 14
Number of perpetrators 15 11



Who are the people in the ‘third party’ group?

The group of third party people is very diverse.  It includes parents and other family members, other young people, and NGO care providers.

It’s worth noting that the highest incidence of recorded abuse is committed by third parties who are not caregivers for an organisation – that is other adults who do not have care responsibilities for these children.

Like any child or young person in the community, those in our care can be vulnerable to abuse by other people.  In fact international research shows that they are more vulnerable.

Responding to queries

Child, Youth and Family’s Chief Social Worker Paul Nixon will respond to media queries.  If you receive any queries, you’re welcome to give us a call.


Diane Livingston                                 029 6500 503

Paul Nixon                                          029 918 9099


We’ll be very happy to help.


Kind regards