In response to COVID-19 Alert Level 1, we are modifying some of our usual practice approaches to keep our staff, tamariki and communities safe. Keep checking back for updates and new guidance.

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

Using the intake decision response tool

The purpose of the intake decision response tool is to determine the appropriate response pathway and best timeframe for the response when a concern is reported about te tamaiti.

When to apply it

Apply the decision response tool when a report of concern is made and after considering any additional information received.

Intake decision response tool (PDF 22 MB)

Intake decision response prompts

Use these prompts from the decision response tool to gather and assess as much information as possible from the person reporting the concerns about te tamaiti.

Whānau responsiveness and services

  • has the referrer spoken with te tamaiti?
  • has the referrer spoken with te tamaiti, family/whānau, if so, what was the response?
  • are there factors impacting on the capacity or willingness of the family/whānau, such as disability, trauma, intellectual functioning, illness, substance abuse and/or criminal activity?
  • which community or iwi/cultural services could meet the needs of te tamaiti and family/whānau?

Safety and wellbeing

  • is there a safe adult willing and able to meet the immediate safety and wellbeing needs of tamariki?
  • are there other factors that help reduce the risk of neglect and abuse?
  • is the safety and wellbeing of siblings or other tamariki in the same household being considered?
  • are there concerns around risk to longer-term wellbeing?

Vulnerability, pattern and impact

  • are there factors which make te tamaiti particularly vulnerable, such as age, disability, trauma, cognitive or developmental issues?
  • is there a pattern (frequency and severity) that raises concerns?
  • consider cumulative harm — what impact are the concerns having on te tamaiti?
  • is te tamaiti already in care or have care or protection concerns previously been identified?

Willingness and capacity

  • is there motivation by the family/whānau to engage?


  • has te tamaiti committed an offence?
  • what is the nature of this offence?
  • are police involved?

Receiving wellbeing concerns

Any person who has concerns about the wellbeing of tamariki or rangatahi can report this to Oranga Tamariki.

When considering wellbeing as part of the concerns

Concerns about the wellbeing of tamariki or rangatahi could range from worries about whether tamariki have their everyday living needs met right now, such as enough food, through to concerns about achieving their longer term developmental potential, such as achieving at school.

Factors social workers need to consider:

  • levels of complexity, such as multiple unmet needs
  • increased vulnerability, such as disability, trauma, gender identity issues, age
  • experience of trauma, such as cumulative harm
  • duration and repeated experiences of the issues, such as homelessness, length of time sleeping in a car
  • impact of services, such as are they being effective in addressing the wellbeing issues?
  • potential for negative impacts of current situation, such as poor housing can have a significant impact on health whereas frequent absences from school have a long term impact on learning progress/educational achievement
  • being a tamariki in care.