Helping tamariki reach their full potential
Helping tamariki to reach their full potential requires us to listen to them, maintain a focus on them and strive to understand them. Tamariki who are or have been in care often have complex and serious needs.
To respond to these needs and work to build a positive future we need to have a current, comprehensive picture of the challenges faced by te tamaiti along with their strengths.
We need to:
- recognise and acknowledge the strengths of te tamaiti
- champion te tamaiti to overcome any barriers that might prevent them from reaching their goals
- assist te tamaiti to build their own network of support for the future
- strengthen their connection to whakapapa, identity and belonging
- support others to fulfil their whanaungatanga responsibilities to te tamaiti.
We seek to:
- understand the history of the case, and locate the current risks, issues and concerns within that context
- understand the strengths of te tamaiti and their family/whānau and the areas to build on
- identify goals and possible solutions
- articulate what progress and success might look like in order to make a decision about the next steps.
Assessing the needs of tamariki in care is not a one off event- but is a continual process of noticing, making sense and responding to change and progress.
An emphasis on participation
Assessment of needs must involve te tamaiti and their family/whānau. It’s not our role to be the expert in this assessment and we work in partnership with te tamaiti, their family/whānau, iwi and professionals.
Te tamaiti and the important people in their life should have significant input to the assessment of their needs and the resulting plans that support te tamaiti, their family/whānau and their caregiver. The National Care Standards requires us to include the views of te tamaiti, and their whanau, hapu, iwi, along with their caregiver, and other professionals that are knowledgeable about and important to te tamaiti.
Remember, every engagement with te tamaiti is an opportunity to assess their changing needs and update their All About Me plan, including the Tamariki All About Me version of the plan.
Using the Tuituia Assessment Framework to assess the needs of tamariki
Tuituia is the key assessment framework used to assess the needs of tamariki, including those tamariki who are in care. Be purposeful when undertaking the assessment – it’s not just a collection of information. Identify the domains and areas that need to go deeper and be clear about the areas that are of less concern.
The dimensions of assessment that need to be covered in the needs assessment for tamariki in care are outlined in regulation 10 of the National Care Standards.
The National Care Standards needs assessments dimensions don’t automatically map to the existing Tuituia framework. The following guidance is designed to help navigate how to assess the relevant areas and where to record the information.
Identity and cultural needs
Identity and cultural needs are covered in the following Tuituia domains:
Need to maintain connections with their family, whānau, hapū, iwi and family group
This is a strong focus on ensuring te tamaiti has their right to connections with their family, whānau, hapū, iwi and family group. The requirement around belonging and connection requires a commitment to establishing, supporting and maintaining whakapapa and whanaungatanga connections. This need is assessed within the following Tuituia domains:
Safety needs is a new dimension and will require a thoughtful approach to assessment. Along with the following Tuituia domains, new guidance has been written to support the assessment of safety needs:
Behavioural needs are covered in the following Tuituia domains:
Play, recreation and community needs
Play, recreation and community needs are covered in the following Tuituia domains:
Emotional needs are covered in the following Tuituia domains:
Education or training needs
Education or training needs are covered in 2 key Tuituia domains:
Health needs are covered in the following Tuituia domains:
Needs relating to any disability
This is another new area of specific assessment and will also require a thoughtful approach. Along with the following Tuituia domains new guidance has been written to support this dimension:
How often they should be visited by a visitor
This is a new area of assessment. The decision regarding how often a tamaiti is visited is now determined by an assessment of their needs, rather than a minimum timeframe.
Using the Tuituia Assessment to support planning
The needs identified in the Tuituia assessment will be used to support the development of the All About Me Plan for te tamaiti. The All About Me Plan describes how we are supporting and responding to the needs of te tamaiti in the custody or care of the Oranga Tamariki chief executive in line with the National Care Standards. The Tamariki All About Me version of the plan provides information in the plan to te tamaiti in a form appropriate to their age and developmental level.
The Tuituia assessment will also be used to support the development of the caregiver support plan, and may be used to inform the caregiver assessment of a potential caregiver (when the caregiver has been identified specifically for this tamaiti).
The All About Me Plan, the Tamariki All About Me version of the plan, and the caregiver support plan work together to support the needs of te tamaiti and enable the caregiver to best care for te tamaiti.