Involving whānau or family in the adoption decisionWe should make every effort to involve the expectant parents’ whānau or family when adoption is being considered.
Upcoming changes for this guidance
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 guidance. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice shift
Helping sense of self and identity
For tamariki to develop a sense of self and identity, they need to know about their birth whānau or family, their whakapapa and how they are connected. This includes the father’s whānau or family.
How we can involve the wider whānau or family
We should encourage and support expectant parents to involve their whānau or family when considering adoption. They can provide the expectant parents with emotional and practical support, and information about the whānau or family.
Responding to the rights and interests of Tangata Whenua—Māori
Ideally, expectant parents consult whānau or family on their own accord. If asked, we can help to arrange a meeting involving key whānau or family and prepare any information required. If the expectant parents don’t want their whānau or family involved, we must respect their wishes. We cannot approach their whānau or family without the expectant parents’ permission.
Where whānau or family involvement is possible your kairaranga ā-whānau may be a useful source of support and advice.
Expectant parents aren’t required by law to consult their whānau or family about the future of their tamaiti. They are the only ones who can give consent to adopt or not.
Arranging a whānau or family meeting
Explore with the expectant parents whether they are open to any sort of whānau or family meeting to consider planning for the care of the child. Our role in a whānau or family meeting is to:
- encourage the whānau or family to consider their care options for the child
- empower the whānau or family to find their own solutions
- help identify the objectives of the meeting
- facilitate the meeting if asked
- provide any information on the adoption process and requirements
- provide support for the expectant parents
- summarise the outcome
- offer to leave the meeting so the whānau or family can have their own discussion.
This is not a statutory process and whānau or family meetings in this context are not the same as a family group conference. Any agreement or plan that comes out of a whānau or family meeting is not binding and expectant parents are voluntary participants. Agreement to participate in this sort of process will depend on the extent of the trust and engagement that can be achieved.
Consider the hui ā-whānau guidance for relevant and helpful advice.