Who this policy applies to
This policy applies to all tamariki in our care or custody.
Support for assessed need
We must ensure that support is available to all tamariki in our care or custody to meet their assessed needs. This includes areas of need that must be supported under the National Care Standards:
- identity and culture
- connection with family, whānau, hapū, iwi and family group
- behavioural development
- play, recreation and community
- education and training
- health and disability
- frequency of visits to te tamaiti.
How we provide support
When we provide support, we must:
- provide it promptly
- provide it in the amount and way we consider appropriate
- ensure tamariki are assisted to access it
- consider the cultural safety of te tamaiti
- consider any tamariki needs associated with disability or trauma.
Support may include:
- social work support
- youth work support
- cultural support
- financial support
- help to address trauma
- access to specialist services such as education, health or therapeutic services.
Required steps when supporting certain areas of need
When thinking about the needs for tamariki in our care or custody, some areas of support require certain steps to be taken. They include:
- whānau connections
- culture, belonging and identity
- play, recreation and community activities
- health and disability
- education and training
- complaints, feedback or raising concerns.
In all cases, if meeting the needs of te tamaiti involves sharing information relating to them, this must be done in consultation with te tamaiti, or their representative wherever practicable and appropriate. When we want to disclose information that relates to te tamaiti but is about others, we must also consult with those other people wherever practicable and appropriate.
We must promote mana tamaiti by ensuring support is provided to tamariki to establish, maintain and strengthen connections with their family, whānau, hapū, iwi, marae, and family group and anyone else they or their whānau or family identify as important.
To support whānau connections we must:
- ensure te tamaiti is able to have contact and connection with their family, whānau, hapū, iwi, family group and people who are important to them
- assist te tamaiti to connect with their family, whānau, hapū, iwi, and family group through whakapapa
- enable and support others to fulfil their whanaungatanga responsibilities
- ensure parents, guardians and any other important members of the family, whānau, hapū, and family group of te tamaiti are regularly kept informed of the progress of te tamaiti and participate in important decisions that affect te tamaiti.
We are not required to support relationships between tamariki and specific individuals when this is not in the best interests of te tamaiti.
Financial support which we provide for whānau connections may be provided directly to te tamaiti or to their whānau or family, or caregivers as appropriate.
Culture, belonging and identity
We must ensure support is provided to tamariki to meet their cultural and identity needs in ways which enhance mana tamaiti.
To support culture, we must support tamariki to:
- learn about their culture
- attend, celebrate or acknowledge cultural events of significance to their culture
- participate in activities or experiences relevant to their culture
- maintain or improve the language of their culture
- visit or connect with whenua significant to their culture.
To support belonging and identity, we must support tamariki to:
- develop their identity, including gender identity and sexual orientation
- attend, celebrate or acknowledge events of significance for te tamaiti
- participate in activities or experiences relevant to their identity or sense of belonging
- visit or connect with whenua, marae and other places significant to their identity or sense of belonging
- connect with other tamariki in care.
Recording life events
We must ensure that a record of events important in the life of te tamaiti is collected, recorded and maintained. This must be done in consultation with te tamaiti where appropriate and have regard to both the culture and circumstances of te tamaiti.
This record may include:
- information about significant events or achievements
- details of important relationships
- art work
- school reports.
Play, recreation and community activities
We must ensure support is provided to tamariki to meet their needs for play, recreation and participation in community activities.
To support play, recreation and community needs, we must support tamariki to:
- have opportunities for play and other recreational experiences
- access toys, books and other items
- establish and maintain relationships with peers and others in the community
- attend and participate in sports, cultural, volunteering or other community activities.
We must ensure support is provided to tamariki to meet their health needs and to maintain and improve their health. This includes recovery from any harm suffered.
We must make reasonable efforts to ensure the health needs of tamariki are met by practitioners who understand their culture and values, and who have knowledge of models of health relevant to their culture.
Significant decisions regarding the health needs of tamariki require consultation with guardians. Where the guardians are unable to agree on health decisions, we must take steps to resolve this.
To support health needs, we must support tamariki to:
- enrol with a primary health provider
- access an appropriate health practitioner
- have annual health checks
- have annual dental checks
- access health information such as healthy relationships and sexual health, including how to access health services
- access publicly funded health services
- access private health services where publicly funded services are not available or not available within a reasonable timeframe.
In addition to providing the above support, we must maintain a record of the health history of tamariki in our care.
Care and protection
We must refer all tamariki for a gateway assessment within 10 working days of entering care on a care and protection status.
We must refer all tamariki for a health and education assessment within 10 days of entering care on a youth justice status.
Education and training
We must ensure support is provided to tamariki to meet their educational needs. This includes support for tamariki to:
- enrol with an educational provider
- attend regularly
- access the tools and help they need to succeed.
Decisions regarding the enrolment of tamariki in education will depend on their age. Any decisions must be made in consultation with their parents or guardians and reviewed regularly. Where the parents or guardians are unable to agree on enrolment decisions, we must take steps to resolve this.
Tamariki aged 1—4 years
All tamariki must be enrolled in a licensed early childhood service or a certificated playgroup where this is in their best interests. Decisions about the length of time that they attend for will be based on their needs.
Tamariki aged 5 years
All tamariki must be enrolled at a registered school, a licensed early childhood service or certificated playgroup unless this is not in their best interests. If the decision is not to enrol te tamaiti in school, this decision must be reviewed regularly.
Tamariki aged 6—15 years
All tamariki must be enrolled at a registered school unless they have an exemption to be home schooled or leave school at 15.
If there is any dispute about the decision to enrol a tamaiti at a particular school, we must take steps to resolve this.
Tamariki aged 16 years and over
All tamariki 16 years and over must be provided with assistance to enrol at a registered school or tertiary organisation, or to obtain employment.
We must support tamariki to attend school or an early childhood service. For tamariki who are enrolled at school, we must:
- obtain updates each term about attendance
- ensure caregivers support attendance
- provide support to address any concerns about attendance
- ensure we or someone suitable supports tamariki in person if a hearing is held to consider suspension or exclusion from school
- facilitate alternative education arrangements if te tamaiti is excluded from school.
We must monitor the educational progress of te tamaiti and support their educational achievement. We will do this through regular contact with their education provider and other relevant agencies. We must:
- provide the education provider with all the information they need to support te tamaiti to achieve in education – we should consult te tamaiti before we disclose this information wherever practicable and appropriate
- engage with the education provider (at least once a term) to discuss the educational progress of te tamaiti as appropriate
- obtain a written update from the education provider (at least once a term) about the educational progress of te tamaiti
- provide support where te tamaiti is at risk of not achieving their educational goals, or is not achieving those goals.
Other support obligations for education
We also must ensure financial assistance is provided to tamariki for:
- equipment and materials such as a uniform, school bag and stationery
- payment of education-related costs such as donations and fees for trips or camps
- transport costs
- additional tuition or educational support programmes that are not available through the public system within a reasonable timeframe.
Feedback and complaints
We must ensure support is provided to tamariki if they wish to provide feedback, make a complaint, or raise an issue of concern.
To support the feedback and complaints process, we must support tamariki to:
- feel safe to share their feedback
- understand the complaints process and possible outcomes
- make the complaint
- understand how their complaint was assessed, what the outcome was, and any actions taken as a result.
Right to personal belongings
We must ensure tamariki have their own personal belongings and a safe place to store them.
Tamariki have the right to have personal belongings including:
- taonga and things that are important to te tamaiti
- backpack or suitcase.