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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/care/caring-for-tamariki-in-care/information-and-visits-for-prospective-placements/
Printed: 14/12/2019
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Last updated: 01/07/2019

Information and visits for prospective placements

To help tamariki and rangatahi have a positive experience when they enter care or go to a new placement, we make sure they understand what is happening and where they are going ahead of time.

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.

Social worker role with prospective placements

This diagram shows how social workers provide information to tamariki about prospective caregivers and placements, including visits (section 67 of National Care Standards).

View full size image (JPG 96 KB) Download image (JPG 96 KB)

Creating the booklet — caregiver social worker

All approved caregivers create their Welcome to Our Home Haere Mai ki Tō Tātau Kāinga booklet with their caregiver social worker. The caregiver social worker:

  • explains the purpose of the booklet to the caregiver and how significant it will be for a tamaiti or rangatahi to help them with the proposed transition
  • assists the caregiver in preparing the booklet and gives the caregiver a template (electronically or hard copy) so they understand the type of information to include and a potential presentation style.
  • has the overall responsibility to ensure the booklet is completed.

 

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:

  • safety
  • food and basic necessities
  • routines.

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.

Welcome to Our Home Haere Mai ki Tō Tātau Kāinga — template (english) (PPTX 8.2 MB)

Welcome to Our Home Haere Mai ki Tō Tātau Kāinga — template (te reo) (PPTX 8.2 MB)

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.         

Privacy Act 1993

Sharing the booklet with te tamaiti or rangatahi — social worker for te tamaiti or rangatahi

Before sharing the booklet with te tamaiti or rangatahi, the social worker for te tamaiti or rangatahi should review the content to make sure it is suitable for their specific needs. Think about:

  • how the booklet could be adapted based on the age of te tamaiti or rangatahi — for example, if there is a reference to bed wetting and te tamaiti or rangatahi doesn’t have issues with this, this content could be removed
  • what is needed to help te tamaiti or rangatahi feel safe and build trusting relationships with caregivers and within the new neighbourhood — most tamariki and rangatahi coming into care will have needs related to trust and safety as they move away from familiar environments and routines so we could include information about things like the safety of the walk to school, the friendly neighbours or the house being safely locked up at night-time
  • how the content could be adapted if te tamaiti or rangatahi has developmental or other disabilities.

Practice tips for social workers to consider when engaging and communicating with disabled children and young people

When sharing the booklet with te tamaiti or rangatahi:

  • make sure the setting is an environment which allows te tamaiti or rangatahi to take in this information, and provide them with time to reflect and ask questions
  • explain that a time will be set up to meet their new carer or caregivers and their family/whānau members before they move in, where possible
  • explain when the placement will take place — what the date and time will be and why
  • explain how they will be able to say goodbye to their family/whānau, parents, grandparents and siblings
  • talk about the area where the new home is in relation to their usual home or family and community and how they will stay connected with them
  • discuss how the new placement could be included into their life events book — but keep in mind they may not want to include a new placement in the book, particularly in the early stages of the placement
  • record the time, date, place and nature of this conversation on CYRAS.

It is critically important to ensure te tamaiti or rangatahi and their family/whānau clearly understand what is being explained about the new caregiving environment. Think about their age and language (English may not be their first language), and any disabilities or learning needs. Consider whether an interpreter or translator is needed.

Giving te tamaiti or rangatahi a hard copy

We should give te tamaiti or rangatahi a hard copy of the booklet unless:

  • it is not in their best interests to have it
  • it will compromise their safety or security (or the safety or security of the caregiver and their whānau)
  • the caregiver has not given their consent.

If te tamaiti or rangatahi is taking the hard copy of the booklet with them, it should be included or kept in the information pouch.

Cultural considerations

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.

Working with Māori: Te Toka Tumoana – eight guiding principles for wellbeing 

Our Māori cultural framework

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

Practice standards

When working with Pacific children and young people, Vai'aifetu cultural practice framework and principles must be applied:

  • child's best interest
  • relationships
  • responsibility
  • spirituality
  • humility.

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).

Working with Pacific peoples: Va'aifetu

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.