Update made to this guidance
A bullet point has been added about the safety plan needing to outline the financial support available to people caring for te tamaiti.
Develop a safety plan
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 approach
When we become aware of a non-accidental injury
We are likely to become aware of an actual or suspected non-accidental injury through a report of concern. Anyone can make a report of concern, including a hospital or another medical professional, another professional like a teacher or lawyer, a whānau or family member or friend, or a member of the public.
All reports of concern follow the normal intake pathway.
If the concerns are very serious, we should notify emergency services or encourage the notifier to do so.
Start the collaborative and multi-disciplinary process for decision-making and planning
When we receive a report of concern about te tamaiti experiencing a suspected non-accidental injury, we need to:
- ensure their immediate needs are met
- work collaboratively to keep them safe from further harm.
We work with the notifier to understand the concerns and gather information to inform safety planning.
We work together with te tamaiti, their parents and whānau or family, and professionals to discuss the concerns and develop a safety plan.
All cases that require an investigation response are worked in consultation with Police following the Child Protection Protocol.
Working collaboratively achieves better outcomes by:
- ensuring robust and safe decision-making
- reducing stress and worry for te tamaiti and their whānau or family.
If professionals disagree, we make sure that everyone is heard and their concerns are considered. If agreement can’t be reached, it is Oranga Tamariki that has the statutory responsibility for taking steps to ensure the care and protection of tamariki.
Engage with te tamaiti and their whānau or family as early as possible
Parents, whānau or family and te tamaiti should be involved in the safety planning either in person or by phone or videoconference.
We need to:
- know and consider the wishes of te tamaiti and their whānau or family
- talk with the whānau or family about harm and danger, so they’re aware of the issues that will be raised in developing the safety plan.
Develop a safety plan
The safety plan should be straightforward, SMART and written in plain language.
It needs to outline:
- what the safety issues are for te tamaiti, how they will be addressed, and what safety arrangements are already in place
- who will care for te tamaiti, and where they will live
- who in the whānau or family will have contact with te tamaiti, when this contact will occur and if required, who will supervise it
- how any risks to siblings and other tamariki in the home will be addressed
- how the emotional needs of te tamaiti will be addressed
- how the health and rehabilitation needs of te tamaiti will be addressed
- what support the whānau or family needs, who will provide this and when
- what financial support is available to those caring for te tamaiti, and who is responsible for providing or accessing this
- the roles and responsibilities of professionals
- how the plan will be monitored, who will be responsible for monitoring and how people will be kept informed.
Ensure everyone involved has a copy of the safety plan.