What our 1 July 2019 legislative obligations are
Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 outlines our duties in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi Tiriti o Waitangi. This includes having regard to mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga.
For all tamariki:
- whakapapa connections and whanaungatanga obligations need to be nurtured and addressed as part of their plan
- we should give preference for tamariki, and their siblings, to be cared for by members of their family, whānau, hapū and iwi (in the first instance) or family group
- we need to carefully consider things like stability, continuity, maintaining social and community connections and the importance of sibling relationships.
Caregiver social workers and the social worker for te tamaiti need to work together closely to ensure tamariki, family/whānau and caregivers are involved in decision-making, are receiving consistent information and are being appropriately supported. These considerations apply for all tamariki who are in care and those caring for them. However, particular consideration needs to be given when tamariki are not being cared for within their family/whānau, hapū or iwi.
The current principles and underlying practice set out in the Noho ake Oranga policy continue to apply.
Policy: Noho ake Oranga ― permanency and enhancing wellbeing for tamariki in care
We are currently reviewing the Noho ake Oranga policy and our permanent care settings to ensure they are fully aligned with our section 7AA obligations and result in the best outcomes for tamariki.
Who this information is for
This information is for:
- social workers who are working with tamariki in care where decisions need to be made about long-term care and te tamaiti may be currently placed with caregivers, in particular those who are not related to them
- caregiver social workers who are supporting caregivers who have been approved to provide care for tamariki (or may be approved) or have tamariki in their care, particularly those who are not related to them where permanent care decisions have been made or are needed.
Our partners (including both iwi and Māori partners and care providers), the Family Court and lawyers for children and parents may also find this information useful.
How to integrate our 1 July 2019 obligations at different stages in the care and permanency pathway for tamariki
For all tamariki and their caregivers, we need to understand where each tamaiti and each caregiver is in their care journey. For example, has te tamaiti just come into care and are we working out options for care, or has te tamaiti been in care for some time and permanent decisions need to be to confirmed and actioned?
We also need to be clear whether or not there is an existing commitment or agreement to support a care arrangement in place. An existing commitment or agreement to support a permanent care arrangement could take the form of a court plan, a family group conference plan, a plan emerging from a hui ā-whānau or a commitment to fund and support applications brought by the caregiver to secure permanency as an outcome of an agreed process.