Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/policy/caregiver-and-adoptive-applicant-assessment-and-approval/
Printed: 07/02/2023
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Last updated: 12/01/2023

Caregiver and adoptive applicant assessment and approval

The requirements for the assessment and approval of prospective caregivers (family/whānau and non-whānau) and adoptive applicants (domestic and inter-country adoption).

Updates made to this policy

This policy has been strengthened in relation to role clarity and collaboration, and a requirement has been added to use the child/young person and family consult tool when the caregiver social worker identifies potential risk or issues when completing a caregiver assessment.

The assessment timeframes have been updated to 42 working days for prospective caregivers.

Who this policy applies to

This policy applies to all people wanting to provide care on behalf of the Oranga Tamariki chief executive or to adopt a tamaiti or rangatahi.

Who carries out the caregiver or adoptive applicant assessment

A caregiver assessment must be led by a Caregiver Recruitment and Support (CGRS) caregiver social worker.

An assessment of an adoptive applicant must be led by an adoption social worker.

An assessment for the provisional approval of a caregiver must be led by a CGRS caregiver social worker unless it is not practicable in the circumstances.

Provisional assessment for urgent placements

If a caregiver is being assessed to provide care for a specific tamaiti or rangatahi and there is a social worker for te tamaiti or rangatahi allocated, the caregiver social worker and the social worker for te tamaiti or rangatahi must work collaboratively together to ensure the specific needs of te tamaiti or rangatahi inform the assessment, concerns for oranga are shared and discussed, and all relevant information is shared with one another.

Assessment timeframes

Prospective caregivers

We must complete the caregiver assessment and approval process within 60 calendar days (42 working days) of the date the prospective caregiver confirms they want to proceed with a full assessment.

If this timeframe can’t be met, you must record the reason in a casenote on the prospective caregiver's CGIS record.

Adoptive applicants

We must complete the adoptive applicant assessment and approval process within 90 calendar days of the date the prospective adoptive applicant confirms they want to proceed with a full assessment.

If this timeframe can’t be met, you must record the reason in a casenote on the prospective adoptive applicant's CYRAS record.

If the assessment is for a prospective Family Home caregiver

In addition to the usual requirements of a caregiver assessment, assessment for a prospective Family Home caregiver must include:

  • exploration and assessment of issues specifically relating to providing care in a Family Home
  • a panel interview.

Youth justice — custody of a tamaiti or rangatahi pending hearing

Where a tamaiti or rangatahi appears before the Youth Court, the court has a range of options for custody, including ordering that te tamaiti or rangatahi be:

  • delivered into the custody of any person approved by the chief executive for the purpose 238(1)(c)
  • detained in the custody of the chief executive, an iwi social service, or a cultural social service 238(1)(d).

Custody of child or young person pending hearing — section 238(1)(c) and (d) of Oranga Tamariki Act 1989

Once the assessment is complete

After our assessment is complete we must decide whether to approve or decline the prospective caregiver or adoptive applicant, prepare an assessment report and follow the relevant decline or approval process.

If the assessment has been completed in response to a direct application to the court for an adoption order, we do not apply the special considerations process. The social worker provides a report to the court and the decision to approve or decline the adoption application is made by the court.