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Printed: 22/09/2020
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Family/whānau agreement

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

What is a family/whānau agreement

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

The agreement helps the family/whānau:

  • 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 family/whānau. It can only be used if the family/whānau 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

Social worker referral for a care and protection family group conference

How to do it

1 Have a meeting (hui ā-whānau)

The social worker and the family/whānau have a meeting (hui ā-whānau). A reasonable number of extended family/whānau should attend the hui ā-whānau, as well as the immediate family/whānau. The social worker and the family/whānau 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 family/whānau:

  • 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 family/whānau. 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 family/whānau 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 family/whānau 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.

Social worker referral for a care and protection family group conference

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