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 care arrangement 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 the care arrangement.
Reports to the Ombudsman
We are required to write and send a report to the Ombudsman 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 then endorse the report.
The social worker who wrote the section 47 report must then email it to Operational_Support@ot.govt.nz, who will send it to the Ombudsman. The social worker must not send the section 47 report directly to the Ombudsman.
The social worker must also provide a copy to the Senior Advisor Regional Operations for their records.
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).
When writing the section 47 report
The section 47 report must be:
It must also:
- address the oranga 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 Ombudsman 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.
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.
Timeframes for sending section 47 reports to the Ombudsman
A section 47 report must be sent to the Ombudsman as soon as practicable after te tamaiti or rangatahi leaves custody.
The social worker must not send the report directly to the Ombudsman. The social worker emails it to Operational_Support@ot.govt.nz
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 Ombudsman.
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.