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Historic Claims - Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get my personal files?

Yes. If you want to have your personal files from your time in care we will arrange to have these sent to you. You will receive all the information that we hold about you.

Some information about other people may be blacked out as is required under the Privacy Act 1993. If you have queries or concerns about particular deletions then you can discuss these with us.

We do not remove any information that might be evidence of possible abuse or neglect. We regard it as your legal right to have this information.

What happens after I contact the Historic Claims team?

After your initial contact, we will contact you to arrange a time to have a detailed discussion about your experience. In most cases this is in person, but sometimes by phone or video.

The purpose of that discussion is to give you the opportunity to talk with us about the concerns you have about your time in care. We will also talk with you about whether there is any help you may need while we look into the concerns you have raised with us.

If your complaint is about criminal conduct then the Ministry may, after making sure we are legally able to, share information about the alleged offending with the Police. If you would like the Police to investigate what happened to you, we would encourage you to contact them. We will help connect you with someone there you can share your experience with.

Can I have someone with me?

Whether we meet with you or discuss your concerns over the phone, you are welcome to have a support person with you. This could be your partner, friend, counsellor or family or whānau member.

Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to make a claim with the Historic Claims team but you can engage a lawyer at any time during the process if you wish. If you do get a lawyer then it is likely that any future communication will be with your lawyer rather than direct with you.

What happens next?

The assessment confirms your involvement with State care, including if the State was legally responsible for you at the times your claim covers.

As part of this assessment we always review your personal files. A full review of other relevant records is not carried out for every concern you raise, however some concerns may require a more detailed assessment.

What support is available for me during the process?

You can contact the Historic Claims team during business hours toll free on 0800 631 127. If you need extra support we can talk to you about how we can help.

What will I get from this process?

Most people find the process of sharing their concerns to be extremely valuable. For example in some cases we are able to answer peoples’ questions about their past, like why they came into State care.

When the assessment is finished we will give you general feedback gathered from reviewing your file and a timeline of your involvement in State care.

At this meeting we may discuss with you a payment offer. If you do get the offer of a payment you can take as long as you need to think about it and choose if you want to accept it or not.

You may choose to seek legal advice.

If your offer includes a payment, we will arrange for payment to be made and close your claim. We may also offer you an apology from our Chief Executive.

Other forms of assistance and services may also be provided.

What happens if I don’t agree with the result?

The feedback session provides you with an opportunity to express your views on the findings of the case assessment. If you don’t accept our offer we will talk to you about what other options are available, including asking for a review of the decision. We will talk with you about this and how long it may take.

You may also choose to seek legal advice.

My child is / was in care, can I come to you?

The Historic Claims team works with people who were in care themselves. We are unable to accept claims from the parents or caregivers of people who were in care.

If you have a child who is currently in Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children care and you have concerns about that, then you can access the Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children Complaints process by either approaching your local OT office, ringing the toll free number 0508 326 459 or checking their website.

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What happens when I make a claim

Oct 2019

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