Updated: 01 April 2017
Changing locations is a particularly vulnerable time for mokopuna, which means it is even more important that we continue to be child-centred in our every interaction and always put the best interests of mokopuna first. It is our job to make sure their transition is as smooth as possible, and that negotiations between offices do not obscure the needs and wellbeing of the mokopuna. This includes their need for cultural connectivity.
This policy outlines requirements when there is a case transfer, and when mokopuna are living outside their normal area or home country, or travelling either locally or internationally.
Reports of concern are referred to the office nearest the present location of the mokopuna. Where there is an open phase at another office, the supervisor receiving the new report of concern must phone the appropriate supervisor in the office where the family/whānau had been earlier engaged. Together, the supervisors will plan the response that best meets the needs of the mokopuna. The office receiving the new report of concern has the responsibility to assess or investigate these concerns. Open interventions remain the responsibility of the original office unless the case is transferred (see below for the process).
When a mokopuna involved with Oranga Tamariki is or will be moving to a different town or city, a supervisor in the originating office must verbally contact a supervisor colleague in the receiving office to advise on the plan for the mokopuna and the reason for the transfer. The supervisor in the originating office will then request a transfer via CYRAS. The transfer will include all case records and any paper files being transferred to the receiving office.
A supervisor from the receiving office must accept the transfer in CYRAS and allocate a key social worker within five working days of receiving the request.
The originating office must ensure that all of the records for the mokopuna are up-to-date (including a current Tuituia assessment) and any outstanding tasks (including the assessment and full approval of caregivers for whom the mokopuna is to be or has been placed) have been completed. On the rare occasions when the originating office still needs to complete additional work on the case, this will not stop the receiving site from accepting the transfer within the five working days timeframe. The best interests of the mokopuna must always be the first consideration.
The above case transfer process must be adhered to when approved caregivers or adoptive parents move to a new town or city, either with or without a current placement. The receiving site must ensure that the caregivers or adoptive parents are visited by their new caregiver social worker within 10 working days of the transfer being accepted to make them aware of the supports available to them in their new area.
When a family group conference has been held and a plan agreed but there is no allocated social worker, the care and protection or youth justice co-ordinator must negotiate directly with the receiving office's site manager and relevant co-ordinator about transferring the record for the mokopuna.
When a family/whānau is intending to move to a new area and there is a family/whānau agreement in place, the social worker in the originating office must review the agreement with the family/whānau prior to the move and identify whether ongoing support is needed. Where it is agreed that further social work involvement is needed, the case must be transferred using the case transfer process. The allocated social worker at the receiving office must then meet with the family/whānau to make a decision together about whether support can be provided via the existing agreement, or if a new agreement needs to be drawn up. For example, it might be that similar services are not available in the area that the family/whānau is moving to. If the family/whānau has moved without the knowledge of the originating office (as can sometimes happen) and requires ongoing support, the same case transfer process will also apply.
There will be a number of occasions when mokopuna are living temporarily outside of their home area but a case transfer request isn’t appropriate; for example, placement in a residential facility or a YSS high needs placement, attending boarding school, attending a programme or on holiday. In these situations, the originating office must advise the office nearest to the intended location of the mokopuna prior to the move. The originating office can request that a co-worker from the site nearest to the location of the mokopuna is appointed for the duration of their stay, but the key social worker must retain responsibility for visiting and engaging with the mokopuna, and keeping their plan on track.
Mokopuna in the custody of the chief executive, or for whom the chief executive is party to a plan resulting from a family group conference, will only be placed overseas under exceptional circumstances when:
Overseas placement is a guardianship decision and the consent of all guardians in writing must be obtained prior to the placement being made. This includes consent from any additional guardians granted under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 or the Care of Children Act 2004. If the guardians are not in agreement about the overseas placement, the Family Court must make the final decision.
The placement must be approved by the relevant DCE, Services for Children and Families.
When the family group conference is being held as a result of a s19 referral by a Child and Family Support Service, that service is responsible for taking adequate steps to check that the prospective caregivers are able to adequately meet the care and protection needs of the mokopuna.
Overseas holidays with usual caregiver/s must receive written consent from the parents/guardians of the mokopuna and must be approved by the site manager.
When a mokopuna is travelling overseas without their usual caregivers and staying with temporary/holiday caregivers, an overseas caregiver assessment and approval of these temporary/holiday caregivers must be completed.
Written consent for the travel is required from the parents/guardians of the mokopuna. If consent is given and the appropriate assessment conducted, approval for travel must then be obtained from the site manager. When the travel is for four or more weeks, approval from the regional manager is required.
When a mokopuna is to travel overseas on a school trip and their caregiver or a guardian is not accompanying them, the social worker must ascertain that the trip is appropriately organised and supervised. They must also receive written consent from the parents/guardians and have the travel arrangements approved by their site manager.
When a mokopuna travels overseas without a guardian, their social worker must ensure that the mokopuna has an identified adult who knows how to manage any decisions that may be required whilst away, including medical decisions. In some situations this may mean an adult being appointed by the Family Court to become a guardian for a specific purpose.
Overseas travel where consent from parents/guardians is not given cannot proceed without the direction of the Family Court. The chief executive can apply to be appointed as a guardian if he or she is not already. Application for additional guardianship can be sought generally or for the specific purpose of considering overseas travel. Once the chief executive is appointed as an additional guardian, an application can be made to the Court to determine the dispute between guardians pursuant to s115 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.