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COVID-19: implications for our practice

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Printed: 16/01/2021
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Last updated: 08/09/2020

Applying for care or protection orders

When we have determined that a care or protection order is necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of te tamaiti, we carefully consider their circumstances and consult with our supervisor and Legal Services to decide which application to make.

Types of orders

We need to understand the rights, powers and responsibilities of the different court orders that place a tamaiti in the care or custody of the chief executive. Other orders can also be sought, for example support or services orders.

Types of court orders

Main application pathways

There are 2 main application pathways.

1. Direct application recommending specific care or protection orders

We can make an application under section 68 recommending that a specific care or protection order (such as a support order or custody order) is made. If needed, we can also ask for interim custody, support and services orders to apply while the court is considering the main application.

This may be appropriate if:

  • we have already had a hui ā-whānau or whānau hui, and
  • we have completed an assessment to consider both the presenting concerns and the range of alternative ways we might respond, and
  • we believe a care or protection order is still necessary.

This application can be withdrawn or amended if we later find an alternative means of addressing the concern, such as through a family group conference plan.

2. Application for interim orders without any other proceedings

We can make an application for an interim custody (section 78(1A)) or guardianship order (section 110AA(5)) where no other proceedings have commenced. These standalone interim orders last for 28 days, or as specified by the court.

This may be appropriate if:

  • there are circumstances where the situation for te tamaiti is more critical, and we have not yet been able to engage with family/whānau in any depth about what our worries might be, why a court order might be required or how else family/whānau could work with us to keep te tamaiti safe
  • an application for an urgent interim order should be considered to make sure family/whānau have a greater opportunity to be involved in the decision.

After the application is made

Careful planning is necessary following the application to ensure that we secure wide engagement with family/whānau, hapū and iwi (and others as appropriate), complete our full assessment and hold a family group conference to develop a plan, if this has not yet occurred.

Work with Legal Services so that the timeframes for these processes can be clearly conveyed to the court.