Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/policy/reports-to-the-childrens-commissioner-section-47/
Printed: 03/10/2022
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Last updated: 18/08/2022

Reports to the Children's Commissioner – section 47

We must provide a report to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner where te tamaiti or rangatahi is in the care of the chief executive and is released from that custody within 5 days of such placement.

When this policy applies

This policy applies when te tamaiti or rangatahi is placed in the custody of the chief executive under sections 39, 40 or 42 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, and is released from that custody within 5 days of their placement with the chief executive. This is the time within which they would have been required to be brought before the Family Court had they not been released from that custody.

This policy also applies when a section 139 temporary care agreement has been entered into following emergency action under one of the above sections within the 5-day period from placement.

Reports to the Children’s Commissioner

We are required to write and send a report to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner when a tamaiti or rangatahi is placed in the care of the chief executive under sections 39, 40 or 42 and is not brought before the Family Court within 5 days. 

Emergency actions under sections 39 and 40 allow the Oranga Tamariki chief executive, a social worker, a delegate of the chief executive, or a Police constable (as applicable) to execute a warrant to search for te tamaiti or rangatahi and to place te tamaiti or rangatahi in the custody of the chief executive in accordance with the requirements of the Act. Under section 42, te tamaiti or rangatahi is placed in the custody of the chief executive after a search without warrant is undertaken by the Police.

Responsibility for writing the section 47 report

Where a section 39 or 40 warrant was executed by an Oranga Tamariki social worker, the social worker must write the report in consultation with their supervisor. The site practice leader must endorse the report before it is sent to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

The same social worker who wrote the report must send the section 47 report to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner, and they must also provide a copy of the report to the Senior Advisor Regional Operations for their records.

The section 47 report must be sent to the Office of the Children's Commissioner and, in the same email, CCed to the Oranga Tamariki External Monitor:
children@occ.org.nz
externalmonitoring@ot.govt.nz

The Police are responsible for preparing section 47 reports in relation to section 39 and 40 warrants that the Police executed, and for all section 42 placements. Police may need relevant information from us to include in their report (for example, with whom and where te tamaiti was placed while in the custody of the Oranga Tamariki chief executive).

Our role in section 47 reports that the Police are responsible for

When writing the section 47 report

The section 47 report must be:

  • relevant
  • accurate
  • professional.

It must also:

  • address the oranga (wellbeing) of te tamaiti or rangatahi, including the risk of further harm
  • consider what further supports are required to ensure te tamaiti or rangatahi is safe
  • provide the rationale for the decisions being made
  • be framed by oranga, have regard to the whakapapa of te tamaiti or rangatahi, and preference te ao Māori beliefs, values and knowledge.

Reporting to the Children’s Commissioner is part of our professional obligation to ensure the right of te tamaiti or rangatahi and whānau or family to a comprehensive and high-quality service.

The report template is in the Court Record in CYRAS.

We must use:

  • Te Toka Tūmoana and Va'aifetū to understand and work effectively with tamariki and whānau Māori and Pacific children and families
  • the signs of safety approach to help us build partnerships with te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family in situations of suspected or substantiated abuse.

Working with Māori: Te Toka Tūmoana

Working with Pacific peoples: Va'aifetū

Building safety around children and young people

What must be covered in the report

We are legally required to include the following details in section 47 reports:

  • when te tamaiti or rangatahi was placed in the custody of the chief executive after a warrant was issued under section 39 or section 40, the grounds on which that warrant was issued
  • the reasons why te tamaiti or rangatahi was placed in the custody of the chief executive
  • with whom and where te tamaiti or rangatahi was placed while in the chief executive’s custody
  • whether a medical examination of te tamaiti or rangatahi was undertaken under section 53
  • the findings or results of any medical examination undertaken
  • the reason for te tamaiti or rangatahi leaving custody
  • the details of any further action that the person who placed te tamaiti or rangatahi in that custody has taken, or is proposing to take, in relation to te tamaiti or rangatahi.

The chief executive under section 53 may, with the consent of any parent or guardian of te tamaiti or rangatahi, arrange for te tamaiti or rangatahi to be medically examined by a qualified health practitioner.

Legal provisions for medical examinations

Timeframes for sending section 47 reports to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner

A section 47 report must be sent to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner as soon as practicable after te tamaiti or rangatahi leaves custody.

Pathways to care: care agreements

Pathways to care: emergency actions

Our role in section 47 reports that the Police are responsible for

A section 47 report relating to the use of section 42 is completed by the Police.

Where a section 39 or section 40 warrant was executed by the Police, the section 47 report is completed by the Police and the Police send it to the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.

We must provide the Police with the information they need to complete the report, particularly focusing on the reason for returning te tamaiti or rangatahi to their parents’ care or entering into a section 139 temporary care agreement.