A youth justice family group conference can only be convened and held by a youth justice coordinator, or social worker with a delegated function to hold youth justice family group conferences.
The function cannot be delegated by a youth justice coordinator to a care and protection coordinator.
Youth justice coordinators must consult with their team leader throughout the family group conference process and seek support as and when required.
Timeframes for convening
The youth justice coordinator is responsible for meeting the specified timeframes for convening.
Guidance: Timeframes for youth justice family group conferences
Consulting with the enforcement agency
The youth justice coordinator must consult with the referrer when family group conference referrals have come from the Police or other enforcement offices such as Ara Poutama Aotearoa (Department of Corrections). The consultation must explore the opportunity to address the matter away from criminal proceedings. Consideration must be given to the nature and severity of the offending as well as the offending history of te tamaiti or rangatahi.
Family group conference not required in certain cases – section 248 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
Before the consultation, the youth justice coordinator must:
- request from the Police (or other enforcement agency that made the referral):
- a copy of the Youth Offending Risk Screening Tool (YORST)
- a summary of facts for the alleged offence
- the contact details of te tamaiti or rangatahi (and their whānau or family, where available) and of the victim
- any history of Alternative Action taken with te tamaiti or rangatahi
- the reparation schedule (where relevant)
- consult with the care and protection and youth justice supervisor when te tamaiti or rangatahi has recent or current care and protection involvement, to understand our current involvement.
The youth justice coordinator must:
- bring relevant information and understanding about te tamaiti or rangatahi to the consultation to inform discussions and decisions about diversion
- discuss with the referring enforcement officer the details of any family violence incidents, protection orders or other personal safety orders that apply to te tamaiti or rangatahi or members of their whānau or family. This includes the reasons for the orders and the names they cover.
If issues around domestic violence, protection orders or other personal safety orders are identified, the youth justice coordinator must:
- discuss the details of these orders with the enforcement officer, including why they were made and who is covered by the order
- consider how the oranga (wellbeing) of te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family may be impacted by their involvement with the family group conference
- address any safety issues so no one is put at risk during convening or the holding of the family group conference
- ensure entitled people are aware if a person covered by such an order is attending.
Definition: Family violence
When legal advice must be considered
When te tamaiti or rangatahi is referred by the Police for an intention-to-charge family group conference, the youth justice coordinator must encourage and support the whānau or family to access legal advice. This is particularly important when te tamaiti or rangatahi is facing serious charges.
If te tamaiti or rangatahi may be charged with an offence punishable by 10 years or more imprisonment, we must ensure they have a youth advocate to represent them. This can be a lawyer chosen by te tamaiti or rangatahi or their whānau or family, or we can appoint one for them. It is the responsibility of Oranga Tamariki to ensure that they have legal representation throughout the process.
If the youth justice coordinator becomes aware that the Police intend to file a charge in the Youth Court, they must ensure the:
- whānau or family are encouraged to seek legal advice
- participants are aware of the legal support options that are available
- participants are aware of their rights in the youth justice system.
When a family group conference is directed by the court, where charges have been filed, the youth justice coordinator must discuss with the whānau or family the reasons to consider engaging with a lawyer to represent their 12- or 13-year-old if a youth advocate has not been appointed.
Guidance: ppointing a youth advocate for an intention-to-charge family group conference – section 248A
Completing the offending profile
The offending profile is an initial screen and recording tool used for tamariki and rangatahi who have offended or are alleged to have offended. It helps determine whether further assessment of their needs, strengths and risks is required.
The youth justice coordinator must ensure an offending profile is completed and recorded in CYRAS:
- the first time te tamaiti or rangatahi is referred or directed for a youth justice family group conference
- if te tamaiti or rangatahi reoffends and the offending profile is more than 3 months old.
The youth justice coordinator must ensure the offending profile is:
- prepared for and completed at the pre-family group conference case consultation
- made available to the:
- youth justice supervisor
- social worker
- care and protection supervisor (if involved)
- others such as the residential case leader and family group conference team leaders (as required) before the case consultation.
This enables them to add information and be prepared for attending the case consultation.
Pre-family group conference case consultation
The youth justice coordinator must ensure a pre-family group conference case consultation is held for every tamaiti or rangatahi referred for a youth justice family group conference under sections 247, 281 and 281B of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, including tamariki in care and protection residences and rangatahi on remand in youth justice residences.
The case consultation must be held within 5 working days of the referral or direction being received.
The youth justice coordinator must host the case consultation and invite the following people:
- youth justice supervisor
- youth justice social worker (if allocated)
- care and protection social worker (if they are already working with the whānau or family) or youth justice practice leader
- family group conference team leader, as required
- residential case leader (if te tamaiti or rangatahi is or has recently been in a residence).
The youth justice coordinator must ensure the case consultation considers the following, to support decisions about next steps:
- what is known and understood about te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family, including prior involvement with Oranga Tamariki and their oranga (wellbeing) needs
- identifying significant whānau, family and others in their lives who must be given the opportunity to be included in the convening and holding of the family group conference
- the results of the education screen
- the gateway assessment (if a tamaiti or rangatahi has come into the care of the Oranga Tamariki chief executive)
- their All About Me plan if te tamaiti or rangatahi is in care or custody
- whether a social worker needs to be allocated
- whether assessments, such as a Tuituia assessment or a health and education assessment, would enable a deeper understanding of the support needs for rangatahi oranga (wellbeing)
- whether other agencies need to be involved
- whether anything from the available information indicates te tamaiti or rangatahi is experiencing, or at risk of, self-harm, suicide or psychological distress
- whether parenting, mentoring, alcohol or drug programmes or cultural support need to be considered for te tamaiti or rangatahi or their whānau or family
- if there are care or protection concerns and whether further assessment is needed
- identifying and strengthening the cultural identity and connection of tamariki or rangatahi
- whether ongoing custody is required if te tamaiti or rangatahi is in a residence
- discussing with whānau or family the value of a hui ā-whānau or family meeting.
The case consultation must be led by the care and protection practice leader if a tamaiti (under 14 years) has offended.
Guidance: Youth justice pre-family group conference case consultation
Guidance: Requesting information
Practice tool: Gateway assessments
The youth justice coordinator must ensure the outcome of the case consultation records:
- assessments required
- those responsible for undertaking or requesting information
- all decisions and outcomes (rationale for whether a Tuituia assessment is required or not and due date for the report).
If attendees are unable to agree on a plan, the youth justice coordinator must consult with their team leader and the care and protection practice leader. If there is still no resolution, the youth justice coordinator must consult the youth justice manager.
The youth justice coordinator must consult with anyone who is required to attend a case consultation and is not able to be there, to get their views and seek their agreement to any decisions.
Care and protection
If there is recent or current care or protection involvement with te tamaiti or rangatahi, the care and protection social worker and their supervisor must attend the pre-family group conference case consultation.
If a care and protection family group conference is being, or has recently been, convened or held, the case consultation must include the care and protection coordinator.
Guidance: Using section 261 in a youth justice family group conference
The youth justice coordinator must ensure that an education screen is completed unless one was completed in the last 3 months. The information must be made available to the family group conference.
Guidance: Education screen
Health and education assessments
When we want to make a referral for an education or health assessment, we must:
- seek consent from guardians with the agreement of tamariki or rangatahi under 16 years of age
- seek consent from rangatahi 16 years or older who can make an informed decision.
The youth justice coordinator must seek the support of a whānau or family member for te tamaiti or rangatahi during the assessment process.
An assessment doesn’t need to be completed if it has been completed in the last 3 months.
Health and education assessment programme (DOC 114 KB)