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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/interventions/family-group-conferencing/care-and-protection-family-group-conference/after-the-care-and-protection-family-group-conference/
Printed: 29/02/2024
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Last updated: 07/07/2023

After the care and protection family group conference

We work with te tamaiti or rangatahi, their whānau or family and others involved to implement the decisions, recommendations and plan agreed at the family group conference and to review them.

Seeking further agreement following the family group conference

At times, individuals and service providers who were not present at the conference may be identified as having a role in the implementation of the decisions, recommendations or plan agreed by the family group conference. It will be necessary to seek their agreement following the family group conference.

Family group conferencing – process map (PDF 131 KB)

Ngākau whakairo: considerations to support te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family after the family group conference

We support te tamaiti or rangatahi, their whānau or family and others involved in the implementation to work on the decisions, recommendations and plan.

About family group conferencing – ngākau whakairo

There are some specific requirements outlined in the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 for the period after a care and protection family group conference has been held. These relate to how we:

  • seek outstanding agreement with the decisions, recommendations and plan
  • record the decisions, recommendations and plan
  • distribute the decisions, recommendations and plan
  • support the implementation and reviews of the decisions, recommendations and plan.

To support the implementation of the plan, the care and protection coordinator:

  • seeks the agreement of anyone who needs to be involved in the implementation of the plan but was not able to give agreement at the time of the conference (section 30 of the Oranga Tamariki Act) and, where agreement can't be reached, reports back to the person who make the referral for the family group conference, or the court or Oranga Tamariki chief executive as appropriate (section 31 of the Oranga Tamariki Act)
  • ensures that the decisions, recommendations and plan are written and conveyed in a way that can be understood by te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family (family group conferencing practice standard 9)
  • records the decisions, recommendations and plan in CYRAS and gives a copy to those entitled to receive one (sections 32 and 33 of the Oranga Tamariki Act)
  • considers the planned review dates, requests from members of the conference or referring agencies or any changes in circumstances when making decisions about reconvening or not reconvening the family group conference (section 36 of the Oranga Tamariki Act).

Family group conferencing practice standards

To support the rights of te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family (and meet the requirements of the legislation), the social worker works closely with them to:

  • ensure they have access to any agreed support, resources, and services and assistance identified in the plan
  • ensure we are meeting our own tasks and obligations laid out in the plan (unless this is impracticable, unreasonable or inconsistent with the principles of the Act)
  • develop a shared understanding of how the plan is tracking and any issues that may be impacting on the success of the plan
  • understand what further support may be needed to support the plan
  • identify when the plan may need adjusting or may no longer be meeting the needs of te tamaiti or rangatahi or their whānau or family – the social worker can ask the coordinator to reconvene the conference early if there is a change in circumstances or the plan is no longer adequately addressing the needs of te tamaiti or rangatahi.

About family group conferencing – ngākau whakairo

Ngākau whakairo

Using the practice prompts

Family group conferencing practice standards

Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

Policy: Family group conferences for care or protection concerns

Confidentiality and the family group conference

Whai mātauranga: bodies of knowledge and understanding that support practice after the family group conference

To support the implementation of the plan, we consider what different bodies of knowledge or sources can tell us, including:

  • te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family
  • others supporting the implementation of the plan
  • relevant research.

Many factors can impact on the ability of te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family to engage with and implement the decisions, recommendations and plan arising from the family group conference. Working with te tamaiti or rangatahi, their whānau or family and those supporting the plan can help us identify these factors and understand how we can mitigate any impact.

We support the successful implementation of the family group conference plan by focusing on:

  • communication, and regular direct contact with whānau or family
  • connecting te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family with services
  • working with te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family to review how the plan is progressing.

Without this, te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family, as well as others supporting the plan, can feel disconnected from the social worker and disempowered following the family group conference.

Report – Evaluation of family group conference practice and outcomes | Social Wellbeing Agency Hub

Care and Protection Overview (pages 20 to 24) (PDF 1.8 MB) | orangatamariki.govt.nz

Report – He Take Kōhukihuki: A Matter of Urgency | Ombudsman

Family group conferencing practice standards

Report to Minister – Final recommendations on improving family group conferences | Ministry of Social Development

Whai mātauranga

Using the practice prompts

Whai oranga

The period following the family group conference is a crucial time for whānau or family to actively work towards building oranga (wellbeing) for their tamaiti or rangatahi, and to strengthen their own rangatiratanga. They will need our support as they work through the plan.

For all tamariki or rangatahi and their whānau or family, we ask the following questions in relation to the principles of manaakitanga, whakamana and rangatiratanga.

Manaakitanga

  • How are we recognising and acknowledging the strengths of supporting te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family during this time?
  • How are we supporting te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family to reach the goals they have set in the plan?
  • How are we working with te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family to identify further support that might be required to ensure the success of the plan?

Whakamanawa

  • How are we leading conversations about ora with te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family?
  • How are we working with te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family to identify potential blocks and barriers that may impact on the plan?

Rangatiratanga

  • How are we encouraging and supporting te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family to implement the plan and achieve the oranga outcomes they have identified?
  • How are we nurturing leadership as it emerges?
  • How are we recognising and responding to participation and positive change?
  • How are we ensuring the voice of te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family is heard and responded to during this time?

Whai oranga

Using the practice prompts

Working with Māori: Te Toka Tūmoana

Working with Pacific peoples: Va'aifetū

Whai pūkenga: skills to support our practice after the family group conference

We recognise that implementing the decisions, recommendations and plan agreed at the family group conference can mean significant changes, expectations and responsibilities for te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family. This may be difficult where people are building skills, addressing personal issues, or strengthening whanaungatanga relationships and whakapapa connections. The continued support and encouragement of the social worker can help the whānau or family to realise their vision of oranga (wellbeing) for their tamaiti or rangatahi, whānau or family.

We draw on practice skills that help to build relationships, analyse progress and motivate change. We ask ourselves the following questions:

  • How am I continuing to build my understanding and create trusting and honest relationships with te tamaiti or rangatahi, their whānau or family and others supporting the plan?
  • How am I creating spaces where te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family can talk to us about their concerns and worries?
  • How am I building understanding about how the plan is tracking?
  • How am I ensuring that we recognise and acknowledge change and progress?
  • How am I motivating te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family to maintain their focus on the goals laid out in the plan?

Whai pūkenga

Using the practice prompts

Working with Māori: Te Toka Tūmoana

Working with Pacific peoples: Va'aifetū

Whai ākona: using coaching, mentoring and supervision to explore and build our practice skills for after the family group conference

It is important that we take time to reflect on our practice, understand how it can impact on and influence those we work with following the family group conference, and consider how we can adapt and strengthen our practice where necessary.

The coordinator asks themselves the following questions:

  • How am I seeking and using feedback relating to the convening or holding of the family group conference to build my practice?
  • How am I seeking feedback from te tamaiti or rangatahi, their family, whānau, hapū, iwi and family group, and others who received the plan to understand how I can strengthen the way the decisions, recommendations and plan are articulated?

The social worker asks themselves the following questions:

  • How does my communication support te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau, family or family group as they implement the plan?
  • Am I being tika and pono completing agreed referrals or tasks as described in the plan in a timely manner?
  • How am I motivating change?
  • How am I supporting te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family to recognise their strengths and make changes?
  • How am I challenging behaviour that may impact on the successful implementation of the plan, while at the same time respecting the mana of te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau, family or family group?
  • How am I working in relational ways to help build, strengthen and maintain the network supporting te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family, and others needed to implement the plan?
  • How am I building, or continuing to develop, relationships that encourage trust and open communication?

Supervisors work with social workers to:

  • reflect on how the rights of te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family are being supported following the family group conference
  • reflect on how their values, beliefs and practice are supporting te tamaiti or rangatahi, their whānau or family and those supporting the plan
  • help build understanding and work through strategies where there are factors impacting on the implementation of the plan.

Whai ākona

Using the practice prompts

Role-specific responsibilities and practice considerations following the family group conference

The coordinator:

  • ensures that the plan accurately represents the decisions, recommendations and plan agreed at the family group conference
  • records the outcome of the family group conference
  • ensures the plan is written and conveyed clearly and is easy to understand for everyone
  • seeks agreement from anyone involved in the implementation of the plan
  • sends a copy of the plan to all those who are entitled to receive it
  • works with the social worker or those requesting a family group conference to reconvene early
  • reconvenes the family group conference in line with the established timeframes or as the situation requires.

The social worker works closely with te tamaiti or rangatahi, their whānau or family and others involved in supporting the plan to:

  • support the implementation of the decisions, recommendations and plan
  • acknowledge the achievements, goals and milestones
  • build and strengthen supportive relationships and networks
  • record the progress of the plan
  • monitor and review the plan regularly, reflecting on how the plan is progressing and the impact of the decisions, recommendations and plan on the oranga (wellbeing) of te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family
  • identify and understand elements that might impact on the successful implementation of the decisions, recommendations and plan, including considering and responding to significant departures from the plan that might require the family group conference to be reconvened earlier than the review date
  • identify and respond in a timely manner should a reconvened family group conference be required earlier due to significant changes
  • identify further supports and resources that may be needed to enable the implementation of the decisions, recommendations and plan
  • prepare for the family group conference to review the plan.

The supervisor: 

  • monitors progress being made in the decisions, recommendations and plan
  • creates opportunities that enable the social worker to reflect on how the plan is progressing and to explore the impact of their practice.

Family group conferencing – process map (PDF 131 KB)

Family group conferencing practice standards