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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/interventions/familywhanau-agreement-2/
Printed: 19/05/2024
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Last updated: 01/04/2019

Family/whānau agreement

A family/whānau agreement is an intervention that uses whānau or family strengths and resources to ensure the needs of te tamaiti are met while remaining in the care of their whānau or family.

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 approach

What is a family/whānau agreement

The agreement is a written contract between the whānau or family and Oranga Tamariki.

The agreement helps the whānau or family:

  • receive appropriate services
  • resolve identified issues.

The agreement has a time limit. It can have a maximum length of 3 months, with a possible extension of 1 month. A 2nd agreement can be entered into for another 3 months maximum.

When to use it

You can choose this option if your assessment identifies some unmet needs for the wellbeing of te tamaiti but also identifies positive safety or other protective factors in the whānau or family. It can only be used if the whānau or family is willing and able and has the capacity to work on the issues and respond to the needs identified in the agreement.

When you should make a referral to a family group conference instead

If you form a belief at any point during a family/whānau agreement that te tamaiti is in need of care or protection, you must immediately make a referral to a care and protection coordinator, who must convene a family group conference.

Definition of child or young person in need of care and protection — section 14 of Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

Preparing for the care and protection family group conference

How to do it

1 Have a meeting (hui ā-whānau)

The social worker and the whānau or family have a meeting (hui ā-whānau). A reasonable number of extended whānau or family should attend the hui ā-whānau, as well as the immediate whānau or family. The social worker and the whānau or family work together to identify current or potential support people or networks to take part in the hui ā-whānau.

Hui ā-whānau

2 Set measurable goals and outcomes

In the hui ā-whānau, the social worker and the whānau or family:

  • come up with measurable goals and outcomes
  • identify what needs to be done differently to achieve the goals and outcomes.

SMART planning

3 Get agreement

The social worker writes up the agreement and gives a copy to the whānau or family. The social worker signs it after getting everyone's agreement to the plan.

4 Check progress

Throughout the course of the agreement, the social worker works with te tamaiti and the whānau or family to:

  • check on the progress that has been made
  • decide on the next steps.

The social worker keeps a record of these reviews.

5 At the end of the agreement

If the concerns have been resolved, the social worker writes to all the whānau or family who attended the hui ā-whānau or were involved in the plan to tell them that the plan has been successfully completed and Oranga Tamariki is no longer involved.

If the concerns haven’t been resolved, the social worker updates their assessment to decide if a 2nd agreement is appropriate or if the concerns now meet the threshold needed for a family group conference.

Preparing for the care and protection family group conference