Recording — Policy

Updated: 01 April 2017

What's Important To Us

The primary role of a social worker is to work with and support families/whānau to protect and care for their tamariki (children and young people). Recording is a vital element of good social work practice – timely recording facilitates analysis and reflection, supports supervision, is a means by which social workers can be accountable for their actions and decision making, and demonstrates their integrity as a social worker.

Moreover the information stored in our computer system is a record of the story of te tamaiti (the child or young person) during the time we were working with them, and it helps us understand what has happened in their life at any point in time. It must always be up to date, accurate, relevant, and the language used be child-centred and free from jargon, particularly as te tamaiti has the right to view their records at any point in time. Accurate recording also supports our commitment to data quality.

This policy highlights the expectations around recording and identifies the key practice areas where recording will be focused.

Recording is a priority area for our service, and we have developed a practice session called 'Recording: A child’s story' to help strengthen practice on sites.

'Recording: A child's story' and other practice sessions

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Case recording is an important aspect of care and protection and youth justice social work.

Records should be:

  • child-centred
  • succinct and accurate
  • timely
  • relevant
  • differentiate opinion from fact.

Although a lot of information may be considered recordable, focus primarily on the following practice areas:

  • key decisions made, the rationale behind these decisions and the actions taken; this is particularly important in order to record case progress and any changes in the direction of the case
  • how we have enabled tamariki to participate
  • the views of tamariki and how we have taken account of their views
  • the views and perspectives of family/whānau personal and demographic details of tamariki and their families/whānau
  • discussions and decisions made during supervision
  • assessment and practice tool application and outcomes
  • plans, reviews and reports.

All data must be recorded accurately for business purposes.

Disability and ethnicity and iwi affiliation


It is important to capture data on the te tamaiti with disabilities that we work with to gain a clearer picture of their circumstances and needs. Therefore, data on any known impairment should be recorded on CYRAS in the Person Characteristics box, located in Person Details screen. Your Tuituia assessment will also highlight any Person Characteristics relating to disability - if these are incorrect or don't show, double-check to make sure you have recorded them correctly.

Disability pathways

Using the Person Characteristics field to record other issues

The Person Characteristics field in CYRAS provides a number of descriptors including mental health, medical issues and severe behavioural disorders. Multiple characteristics can be entered for a person, but they must be entered one at a time.

Ethnicity and iwi affiliation

It is important that Oranga Tamariki has comprehensive ethnicity data in order to:

  • deliver services in a culturally appropriate manner
  • establish the need for culturally appropriate publications
  • identify significant communities of interest
  • evaluate the effectiveness of various programmes among different client groups
  • identify areas where particular cultural and language skills may be required

Recording iwi affiliation is additionally important, as it:

  • assists social workers in placing tamariki Māori so they can seek approved caregivers of the same iwi or hapū
  • protects the whakapapa of tamariki Māori
  • ensures tamariki Māori receive various entitlements; for example, some iwi have financial grants available for tamariki affiliated with them.

Tamariki in care

There are specific recording requirements for tamariki in the custody of the chief executive, or for whom the chief executive continues to provide support following permanency:

  • demographic information
  • current legal status
  • placement record, and caregiver name and relationship
  • permanency goal, including; concurrent goal, the date permanency planning begins, the date permanency is achieved
  • "All about me" care information if te tamaiti is placed out of their parents’ care
  • a financial plan that reflects the care situation
  • how we have enabled tamariki to participate, the views of tamariki, and how we have taken account of their views.

When a tamariki is placed with a s.396 Provider (including respite), the name of the caregiver with whom te tamaiti is placed, is recorded in the participant tab. This may require establishing Person Details for these caregivers before attaching them to the participant tab.

For all tamariki in the custody of any another party, and for whom we make payments through contracted bed-nights, the following information must be recorded on CYRAS:

  • demographic information
  • current legal status
  • placement record, and caregiver name and relationship.