Social worker referral for a care and protection family group conference — section 18(1)A social worker makes a referral for a care and protection family group conference once they form a belief that a tamaiti or rangatahi is in need of care or protection.
Upcoming changes for this guidance
This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to practice framed by te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice, and drawing from Te Ao Māori principles of oranga to support mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this guidance. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice shift
The supervisor is responsible for checking that:
- the social worker has listed all the grounds for their belief that te tamaiti or rangatahi is in need of care or protection in the referral and provided evidence for each ground in the Tuituia assessment and report
- the Tuituia assessment and report have enough information so the coordinator can convene the family group conference.
The coordinator talks to the supervisor if they have any concerns about the referral.
Care and protection coordinator’s responsibilities
When the care and protection coordinator receives a referral, they meet with the social worker and/or supervisor to discuss it. If the coordinator doesn't think that the referral contains enough information for them to begin convening the conference, they may ask that more work be done. The coordinator must be specific about what extra information is needed, and the coordinator and the social worker should agree a timeframe to review the revised referral.
If the coordinator is still not satisfied with the quality of the referral, they must discuss it with the supervisor and the FGC team leader.
When the referral meets all the necessary requirements, the care and protection coordinator must convene a family group conference.
Preparing for the care and protection family group conference
Referrals from other professionals
The Police may refer to a care and protection coordinator for a conference under section 18(1) if they believe that te tamaiti or rangatahi is in need of care or protection.
Referral of care or protection cases to care and protection coordinator — section 18(1) of Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
Courts and organisations concerned with the wellbeing of tamariki (including government organisations) can refer to a care and protection coordinator with information about why they think te tamaiti is in need of care or protection. The coordinator looks at the information supplied in the referral and must decide whether a conference (or other appropriate action) is needed. If they are unsure, they can require a social worker to complete an investigation.
Referral of care or protection cases to care and protection coordinator by other persons or by court — section 19 of Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
Social worker’s responsibilities
Where a social worker forms a belief that te tamaiti or rangatahi is in need of care or protection, they must make a referral to a care and protection coordinator who must convene a family group conference.
Te tamaiti or rangatahi is considered to be in need of care or protection if 1 or more of the grounds set out in section 14(1) of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 apply — except section 14(1)(c), which deals with the parents of a subsequent tamaiti.
Policy: Subsequent child
A decision that a tamaiti or rangatahi is in need of care or protection is to be supported by a Tuituia assessment and report that includes:
Definition of child or young person in need of care and protection — section 14(1) of Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
If the social worker is concerned for the safety of te tamaiti or rangatahi, they work with te tamaiti or rangatahi, their whānau or family and professionals to build safety around te tamaiti or rangatahi at the earliest opportunity before the family group conference.
This could involve building a safety plan with whānau or family and their support network.
Building safety around children and young people
The Tuituia assessment and report are needed to support the referral. It provides the coordinator with a holistic assessment of the strengths and safety and wellbeing needs of te tamaiti or rangatahi.
The Tuituia assessment recording tool is used for all tamariki and rangatahi who are entered as a client in CYRAS. The section ‘Why we are involved & what we are worried about’ covers:
All supporting information is to be made available.
The latest Tuituia report for te tamaiti or rangatahi:
The Tuituia report needs to contain enough information so the care and protection coordinator can start convening the family group conference.
Using the Tuituia recording tool
Completing the Tuituia report
The referral should cover any specific identity or cultural dynamics and values of te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family that the coordinator needs to be aware of when convening the family group conference.
For tamariki Māori:
Include any other potential factors, such as nationality, ethnicity, religious views, gang affiliations, disability, sexuality and gender identity, that are relevant to engaging with te tamaiti or rangatahi and whānau or family.
The social worker meets with te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family to talk with them about the referral and the reasons for making it, including:
Whānau or family need to be advised that:
This is also the time to:
The social worker:
The social worker provides the care and protection coordinator with a current list of:
People entitled to attend a family group conference
The social worker and the coordinator need to look beyond the immediate whānau or family to wider whānau or family. This should also include consideration of members of hapū and iwi who could attend with agreement of whānau or as information givers. This helps ensure a wider response to the needs of te tamaiti or rangatahi.