Practice framework prompts for this policy
Our practice framework helps us make sense of and organise our practice so it is framed in te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi), and draws from te ao Māori principles of oranga, within the context of our role in statutory child protection and youth justice in Aotearoa New Zealand.
How will I make sure that the rights of tamariki and rangatahi to be informed, participate in decision-making, express their views and have them taken into account are respected at every visit?
What knowledge am I drawing on to understand the cultural identity of te tamaiti or rangatahi? How will I make sense of what te tamaiti or rangatahi is telling me? How will I value their knowledge alongside the knowledge I learn from others?
How can I support te tamaiti or rangatahi to freely express their views and needs during my visit? In what ways will I support te tamaiti or rangatahi to understand information, explore options and contribute to or influence decisions about them that support their oranga?
What skills and behaviours do I use to meaningfully relate with this tamaiti or rangatahi in a way that considers their age and ability to understand? How will I meaningfully relate with tamariki or rangatahi who are non-verbal or require support to communicate, to ensure I understand what needs they are communicating?
As a tamaiti or child, who were the adults I was comfortable talking with and why? What made some adults easier to talk with than others? What role did trust in the adult play? How can I apply this to my mahi?
Who this policy applies to
This policy applies to tamariki:
- in the care or custody of the chief executive of Oranga Tamariki
- under a wardship order where Oranga Tamariki is acting as an agent of the Court.
When this policy doesn’t apply
This policy doesn’t apply to tamariki who are involved with Oranga Tamariki but aren’t in the care or custody of the chief executive, or under a wardship order.
There is separate policy and guidance about engaging with tamariki who we are working with via a family group conference, family/whānau agreement or through the Transition Support Service.
Purpose of visits
We visit tamariki to:
- build and maintain relationships
- help us understand what’s happening in their lives
- monitor their safety and wellbeing
- ensure their plan and placement is meeting their needs and promoting their best interest.
Visits are an opportunity to:
- build a relationship, by spending quality time engaging with tamariki
- support tamariki to share their thoughts and feelings
- listen to any concerns tamariki have
- check with tamariki that they are receiving their entitlements, including their pocket money and the clothing they need
- involve tamariki in decisions that affect them, including discussing any need to share information about them
- engage with the caregiver or residence staff about how te tamaiti in their care is doing, and seek their views on whether the plan is meeting the needs of te tamaiti.
Who visits te tamaiti
Te tamaiti must be visited by their key care and protection and/or youth justice social worker if possible.
If the key social worker can’t visit te tamaiti
If the key social worker of te tamaiti can’t visit, the social worker’s supervisor must arrange for someone suitable to carry out the visit.
If te tamaiti is in a residence and their social worker can’t physically visit, a video call, such as through Skype can be used to complete the visit or engagement.
How often we visit
The frequency that we visit te tamaiti must be based on their individually assessed need.
The frequency, as well as the rationale for that frequency, must be:
- determined in consultation with te tamaiti, the caregiver for te tamaiti and the caregiver social worker
- agreed by a supervisor and the approval recorded in the supervision phase casenotes
- recorded in the All About Me plan for te tamaiti.
Wherever possible the views of whānau should also be considered.
The frequency of visits must be reviewed regularly, or if there has been a change in the circumstance or needs of te tamaiti. The plan must be updated if the frequency is altered, this ensures it reflects the needs and wishes of te tamaiti.
A change in circumstance or needs may require an immediate increase in the frequency of visits. This frequency can be increased without a formal reassessment of visiting frequency and supervisor approval, in order to meet the immediate needs of te tamaiti. Consideration of visiting frequency must occur at each visit.
A formal reassessment of visiting frequency must occur once the circumstances or needs of te tamaiti have stabilised, taking into account the recent events. The frequency of visiting must not be decreased without a reassessment and supervisor approval.
When visiting te tamaiti, we must ask them about and seek to understand:
- what is going well for them
- what is important to them
- any concerns or worries they have.
We must ensure their plan is on track and effective by:
- going over their All About Me Plan with them — use the Tamariki All About Me version where it's appropriate taking into account the age of te tamaiti
- looking at whether actions or commitments agreed to in the plan are happening
- talking with te tamaiti about how well they think the plan is working to achieve the identified outcomes
- talking with te tamaiti about the support and opportunities they have to develop, maintain and strengthen positive relationships with their family, whānau, hapū and iwi, and considering whether anything needs to be done differently
- exploring whether circumstances or needs have changed and whether anything needs to be done differently.
If te tamaiti is unable to talk to us verbally because of their young age, development, language barrier or disability, we must ensure we communicate effectively with te tamaiti, including through the use of:
- specialist tools to support communication
- specialist professionals and
- talking to caregivers and others in their household.
Engaging with te tamaiti alone
We must try to engage with te tamaiti in private to enable them to express their views more freely. If it’s unsafe, harmful or inappropriate to do so, we must record the reasons for this and what we intend to do differently to enable them to safely express their views.
Information and views discussed during visits must be recorded in CYRAS. This includes:
- any concerns raised by te tamaiti and how those are progressing
- whether the plan is on track, and if not, what updates are needed to achieve the agreed outcomes for te tamaiti
- any information sharing conversations that occurred (including where a decision has been made not to share information following a consultation with te tamaiti, or where a decision has been made to share information against the wishes of te tamaiti)
- how we have taken the views of te tamaiti into account and any reasons why those views can't be given effect to.
We must also record and take appropriate action if any allegations are made during a visit.
If you’re visiting a tamaiti considered high risk because of their offending — additional requirements
There are additional requirements for a tamaiti we are involved with through Youth Justice and who is considered high risk because of their offending. These requirements are set out in the Management of High Risk Children and Young People (youth justice) policy.