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Maintaining COVID-19 safe and aware practice during Alert Level 1

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Printed: 05/08/2020
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Last updated: 01/07/2019

Decision response timeframes

When we determine a report of concern requires a statutory response, we must decide the timeframe to complete the safety and risk screen.

Choosing a decision response timeframe

Once we've determined that a report of concern will require an assessment or investigation, use the information below to determine our assessment time for establishing the safety of te tamaiti and completing a safety and risk screen.

Safety and risk screen

Response pathways

24 hours (critical)

No safety or care is identified; te tamaiti is at risk of serious harm and requires immediate involvement by Oranga Tamariki to establish safety.

Examples include:

  • te tamaiti has been physically hurt, harmed or sexually abused (see CPP) or is at immediate risk of serious harm
  • te tamaiti requires immediate medical attention and/or evidence gathering is required
  • the alleged adult perpetrator has easy access to te tamaiti who is at immediate risk of further harm
  • te tamaiti is under extreme stress with suicidal ideation and plan (call emergency services and duty supervisor if the case is allocated)
  • the home environment is seriously disordered and dangerous, and te tamaiti is at risk of immediate and serious harm
  • te tamaiti is left home alone, unaccompanied, abandoned or refusing to go home and all options of safety have been explored. Consider the vulnerability of te tamaiti.

48 hours (very urgent)

Te tamaiti is at risk of serious harm but some protective factors are present for the next 48 hours. However, as the situation and/or need are likely to change, high priority follow up is required.

Examples include:

  • te tamaiti has been, or is at risk of serious injury or harm but does not require immediate medical attention. There is no need for the gathering of evidence (or this has already occurred)
  • an adult protector is present and is willing to provide immediate safety needs
  • an alleged adult perpetrator may have limited, or some access to te tamaiti (victim). There is the presence of a safe protective adult however a plan is required to ensure safety beyond 48 hours
  • the home environment or adult decision-making is likely to cause serious harm to te tamaiti (immediate rather than long term).

7 working days (urgent)

Te tamaiti is at risk of harm or neglect and the circumstances are likely to negatively impact on them. Options of safety and supports have been explored but remain unmet. Vulnerability and pattern exists which limits the protective factors.

Examples include:

  • adult behaviours and issues, such as adult substance abuse, mental illness, family violence and decision-making, are having a negative impact on the physical, emotional, psychological and developmental needs of te tamaiti
  • there is an unborn baby whose health and development is significantly at risk of harm due to adult behaviours, such as drug abuse, with other factors such as young mother, transiency, non-engagement with health
  • te tamaiti is displaying behaviours that are causing harm to self or others. This behaviour is not in the context of developmental behaviours and it is likely to increase in severity
  • there are no adults or services able to respond to or meet the needs of te tamaiti
  • there have been incidents of harm which don’t meet CPP and these are having a serious and detrimental impact on te tamaiti.

20 working days (low urgency)

A range of protective factors are present, and te tamaiti is currently safe or has some capacity to provide for their own safety. The complexity of concerns, including wellbeing, requires an assessment and there is a likelihood the concerns will escalate if they remain unmet. The circumstances are negatively impacting on te tamaiti.

Options of safety and support have been explored but the concerns remain unmet.

CPP cases can't have a 20 day response.

Examples include:

  • the cumulative effect of experiences of abuse or neglect is impacting on the current and long term developmental needs of te tamaiti and the issues remain unresolved
  • the home environment is disordered and adult behaviours are impacting on the on-going health, developmental and wellbeing needs of te tamaiti
  • te tamaiti displays at risk behaviours, such as substance abuse, which are not in the context of developmental experimentation or boundary pushing. The behaviours are having a detrimental impact on development, safety and wellbeing.