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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/core-practice/practice-tools/intake-decision-response-tool/considerations-when-responding-to-information-received/
Printed: 24/04/2024
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Last updated: 30/06/2023

Considerations when responding to information received

Use these prompts to gather and assess as much information as possible from the person reporting the concerns about te tamaiti.

Upcoming changes for this content

This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to practice framed by te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice, and drawing from ​Te Ao Māori principles of oranga to support mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this content. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice approach

Focus on tamariki

  • What is the impact of this situation on te tamaiti?
  • What is te tamaiti experiencing?
  • Has the referrer spoken with te tamaiti? If so, what did te tamaiti say?
  • What is the whānau or family view of the impact of the situation on te tamaiti?

Whānau or family responsiveness and services

  • Has the referrer spoken with the whānau or family of te tamaiti? If so, what was the response?
  • Does whānau or family have a shared view of the situation and concerns or do different opinions or tensions exist between the parents and wider whānau or family?
  • What is the whānau or family connectedness to whakapapa, hapū, iwi or extended family support?
  • Are there factors impacting on the capacity or willingness of the whānau or family, such as disability, trauma, illness, substance abuse or criminal activity?
  • Are there community or iwi/cultural services that could meet the needs of te tamaiti and whānau or family?
  • If community or iwi/cultural services are currently involved, what impact is the service having on the current needs of te tamaiti and whānau or family?

Safety and wellbeing

  • Is there a safe adult willing and able to meet the immediate safety and wellbeing needs of te tamaiti?
  • What is the ability of wider whānau or family to add safety?
  • Are there other factors that help mitigate wellbeing concerns or reduce the risk of harm?
  • Is the safety and wellbeing of siblings or other tamariki in the same household being considered?
  • Are there concerns around risk to longer-term wellbeing?

Notifier’s relationship with te tamaiti and/or whānau or family

  • Who did the information come from? Did the whānau or family share this information directly with the notifier? Has te tamaiti or rangatahi told us this through a previous disclosure or interview? Has the information been received from a professional working with the whānau or family? 
  • What is the relationship between te tamaiti and/or the whānau or family and the notifier?
  • How does the relationship inform the notifier’s knowledge of concerns, context and situation for te tamaiti? What does this tell us about their knowledge and understanding of the needs, strengths, risks and oranga for te tamaiti and their whānau or family?

Where tamariki, rangatahi, whānau or family contact us directly, this can tell us important information about the concerns. It is important that we hear and respond to the voice of tamariki, rangatahi, whānau and family.

Vulnerability, pattern and impact

  • Is te tamaiti currently in care or custody?
  • Are there other factors that make te tamaiti particularly vulnerable, such as age, disability, trauma, cognitive or developmental issues?
  • Is there a pattern (frequency and severity) that raises concerns?
  • Consider cumulative harm and intergenerational trauma. What impact and effects are past and current experiences having on te tamaiti?
  • Have care and protection concerns previously been identified? If so, what actions were taken and what was the outcome?
  • How is the parent's own history of trauma or childhood harm potentially impacting on their care or decision-making for te tamaiti?

Willingness and capacity

  • Do te tamaiti and their whānau or family acknowledge the need for additional supports?
  • Is there motivation by the whānau or family to engage?


  • Has te tamaiti or rangatahi committed an offence?
  • What is the nature of this offence?
  • Are police involved?
  • Is there a current youth justice status?
  • Do the concerns relate to offending, arrest or incarceration of a parent or usual caregiver?
  • Are there concerns regarding the impact of offending, arrest or incarceration on te tamaiti?
  • If incarcerated, is the parent making decisions about alternative care arrangements for te tamaiti with support of whānau or family or in isolation from them?
  • Do the circumstances of the offending impact on the ability of the parent or usual caregiver to make safe and appropriate decisions for te tamaiti?

Intake and early assessment

Assessment is an ongoing process of building understanding to inform whānau or family and professional decision-making.
Intake and early assessment