What it involves
Changing living situations can be incredibly unsettling and confusing for a tamaiti or rangatahi. A tamaiti or rangatahi in the custody of the chief executive may have already experienced significant trauma and upheaval in their lives, and any care transition needs to be carefully managed to minimise further trauma.
We help tamariki and rangatahi when they move to a new placement by:
- providing information about the new care environment in the Welcome to Our Home Haere Mai ki Tō Tātau Kāinga booklet
- giving them the opportunity before the transition date to visit the new care environment and meet the people there.
Tamariki and rangatahi were asked what sort of things they would like to know about the people caring for them before moving into a new care arrangement. Feedback included:
Are they trustworthy and kind and honest?
Do they have enough food to feed me?
Will I be sharing a room and is there somewhere to keep my belongings?
Based on this feedback the 3 top priorities we must ensure is included in any information about the caregiver, their home and whānau are:
- safety — how will I be kept safe, physically and emotionally? (priority 1)
- food and basic necessities — is the family equipped to support me? (priority 2)
- routines — what is expected of me? (priority 3)
Section 1 – Welcome to Our Home Haere Mai ki Tō Tātau Kāinga booklet
To help tamariki and rangatahi transition smoothly into their new home, a resource has been created called the Welcome to Our Home Haere Mai ki Tō Tātau Kāinga booklet. Its purpose is to:
- provide information to te tamaiti or rangatahi about a prospective caregiver, in a clear and engaging way
- help make sure the information provided to tamariki and rangatahi about prospective caregivers is consistent and transparent across the service.
What to include in the booklet
The suggested content in the booklet has been developed with an Oranga Tamariki trauma-informed approach. At a minimum it needs to cover issues related to the priority areas identified by tamariki of:
- food and basic necessities
The template contains further detailed guidance around specific information which can be included to cover these priorities. There is also a completed example that caregiver social workers can refer to.
Consider and discuss the following things when creating the booklet:
- The information should help te tamaiti or rangatahi feel that there will be no surprises when they arrive at a new placement or come into care for the first time.
- The booklet should be written in a child-friendly way (no jargon), containing information that is relevant and not overwhelming for te tamaiti or rangatahi.
- It is essential that caregivers give consent to sharing their basic information with te tamaiti or rangatahi as a way of familiarising them with the care environment they may be entering. There is no need to include any address information or surnames in the booklet — it’s important to protect the privacy of the caregiver and their whānau.
- Advise the caregiver that a paper copy of the booklet may be given to te tamaiti or rangatahi to keep, if the social worker for te tamaiti and the caregiver feel that it is appropriate and safe to do so.
- Check with the caregiver they have consent from all members of the household (and any visitors mentioned in the booklet) that they are happy to be included in the booklet (photo and basic information).
- When considering photos to include, make sure there are no features included that could identify the caregiver’s address or workplace, such as a caregiver wearing a work uniform in their photo, or a photo of the local park with a sign in the background naming the suburb.
- Make sure to give consideration to whakapapa, and connections with whānau. For example, include any ways that the caregiver likes to celebrate different worldviews and cultures — how will the caregiver support the cultural identity of te tamaiti or rangatahi?
- If the caregiver’s home caters for people with disabilities (by having ramps for wheelchairs, for example), it is important to include this in the booklet.
Store the completed booklet on CYRAS under a casenote in the caregiver case file.
Work with the caregiver to update the booklet if there are any significant changes in the caregiver household after the booklet is completed.
When stepping through the Welcome to Our Home Haere Mai ki Tō Tātau Kāinga booklet with te tamaiti or rangatahi or visiting the prospective caregiver, it is important to be guided by the principles of mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whānaungatanga. You may also wish to consider our Māori cultural framework and Te Toka Tumoana practice principles. This might mean talking to te tamaiti and the new caregiver about things like:
- how cultural traditions, values and beliefs that are significant to te tamaiti can be supported within the caregiving whānau
- specific language and words, including te reo, that might be used by te tamaiti or the caregiver and how these are commonly understood
- events and traditions that involve the caregiver's extended whānau, including their hapū, iwi and marae that te tamaiti could be involved with
- tikanga within the home such as whether we say karakia before kai, whether we take our shoes off.
The following practice standards should also guide our work:
- See and engage tamariki
- See and engage whānau, wider family, carergivers and where appropriate victims of offending by tamariki
- Work closely in partnership with others
- Whakamana te tamaiti: Practice empowering tamariki Māori
- Keep accurate records
When working with Pacific children and young people, Vai'aifetu cultural practice framework and principles must be applied:
- child's best interest
Use the cultural framework that is relevant for the child or young person (for example Cook Islands Māori, Fijian, Fijian Indian, I-Kiribati, Niuean, Samoan, Tokelauan, Tongan or Tuvaluan).
Be sure to understand what may be important to tamariki from other cultural or religious groups. For example, tamariki who are Muslim or Jewish may need to know how food is prepared at the caregiver's home due to kosher or halal practices.
Section 2 — Pre-placement visits between te tamaiti or rangatahi and new caregivers
To help make the transition into a new placement as easy as possible for te tamaiti or rangatahi, where practicable, social workers need to provide the opportunity to visit the new care environment and meet the prospective caregiver or manager of the residence.
These visits provide an opportunity for all involved to learn about each other, start to build a relationship and reduce the uncertainty about the upcoming move.
It is still important to consider pre-placement visits when the new home may be a whānau caregiver that te tamaiti or rangatahi already knows or has a relationship with. They may also be whānau that te tamaiti or rangatahi does not know very well and they might have never been to their home before. Adapt the planning with the whānau caregiver based on each situation.
It is particularly important to identify any potential concerns or fears te tamaiti or rangatahi may have beforehand and use the visit as an opportunity to address them — for example, showing them their bedroom so they are reassured that they will have their own space, introducing them to the pet dog so they can see it is friendly, showing them the local bus stop so they understand how they will continue to go to their existing school.
If te tamaiti or rangatahi is very apprehensive about the new placement, it may be more appropriate for them to meet the caregiver in a neutral setting. This allows for a staggered introduction with the people first and then the physical environment second. It will be a decision the social worker should make in consultation with the prospective caregiver. Questions to explore with the caregiver include:
- How will the visits look? What will be the length of the visit — day, overnight, weekend stays, or a combination of different types?
- Where will they happen? Will it be at the new caregiver's home, current caregiver's home, or a neutral location?
Think about the child’s cultural context when discussing and planning pre-placement visits. For example, for tamariki Māori, consider the correct tikanga that would apply for te tamaiti or rangatahi and whānau when transitioning to a new home. This will be tamaiti specific and based on their whānau, hapū and iwi connections — it will be different in each iwi rohe. This means that care will be needed to engage with the right people to understand what the correct tikanga may be.
Think about what te tamaiti or rangatahi may be feeling. There will be a wide range of responses and we need to listen to their concerns and understand why this might be a scary or difficult time for them. They may present as withdrawn, angry or anxious. Allow them to have a say in the structure of the visits and let them express their feelings about the situation. Work with te tamaiti or rangatahi and the caregiver to see how the visit could be made easier for te tamaiti or rangatahi.