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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/policy/allegations-of-harm-ill-treatment-abuse-neglect-or-deprivation-of-tamariki-in-care-or-custody/
Printed: 19/01/2022
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Last updated: 14/12/2021

Allegations of harm (ill-treatment, abuse, neglect or deprivation) of tamariki in care or custody

How to respond to allegations of ill-treatment, abuse, neglect or deprivation (‘harm’) of tamariki in care or custody, including keeping tamariki safe, carrying out the assessment or investigation and managing the outcome.

Upcoming changes to this policy

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 policy. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice shift

When this policy applies

This policy applies when there has been an allegation of harm made for tamariki in the care or custody of the Oranga Tamariki chief executive.

For all allegations of harm of tamariki in care, we must complete a child and family assessment or an investigation.

Practice tool: Considerations when developing a decision response

This includes the disclosure of new information about historical harm and concerns raised about current safety.

When this policy doesn't apply

This policy doesn't apply to feedback or complaints or where the allegations are about other types of criminal behaviour.

Feedback and complaints

Dealing with complaints about caregivers

Allegations of criminal behaviour by caregivers other than abuse, neglect or harm of tamariki

Report of concern

An allegation that te tamaiti in care or custody is being, or is likely to be, harmed must:

  • be recorded as a report of concern
  • identify in the report of concern that te tamaiti is in our care or custody and the name of the caregiver.

All information received about tamariki in care or custody must be communicated to the allocated social worker through a CYRAS casenote reminder and a 2-way conversation with the social worker or their supervisor regardless of whether the information results in further action being taken.

Keeping te tamaiti informed and providing support

Throughout the assessment or investigation, we must:

  • support te tamaiti
  • keep te tamaiti informed
  • assess the wellbeing of te tamaiti
  • encourage and support te tamaiti to participate and freely express their views about decisions that affect them
  • take their views into account, while also considering their wellbeing.

In some limited situations (for example, if they are very young), we may decide that it is not appropriate to keep te tamaiti informed of progress. If this is the case, the reasons must be recorded in CYRAS.

Allegations of harm in care or custody

All About Me plan to meet the needs of tamariki and rangatahi

Policy: Participation of tamariki – providing information, ensuring understanding and incorporating their views

Working with tamariki when allegations of abuse, neglect or harm are made against their caregiver

Recording requirements when the allegation is against an Oranga Tamariki caregiver

The caregiver social worker must:

  • change the caregiver's status to 'under investigation' on their CYRAS record when the allegation is received
  • record the caregiver review report and the letter confirming the outcome of the review on the caregiver's CYRAS record and paper file
  • change the caregiver's status to reflect the final outcome of the review.

The investigating social worker(s) must enter a casenote on the CYRAS record of te tamaiti stating that the outcome report for:

  • Oranga Tamariki caregivers is on the caregiver's CYRAS record
  • care partner caregivers or care staff is held on file by Partnering for Outcomes.

Include in the casenote the name of the caregivers and, for care partners, caregivers or care staff, the name of the care partner.

Care partners must provide Oranga Tamariki with a copy of the review report for their caregivers. This will be held on file by Partnering for Outcomes.