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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/practice-approach/practice-standards/ensure-safety-and-wellbeing/
Printed: 22/04/2024
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Last updated: 08/11/2017

Ensure safety and wellbeing – tohu Ensure safety and wellbeing

I will take action every time I am worried about harm to te tamaiti, in order to protect them from harm and the impact of this on their long term wellbeing.

Upcoming changes for this practice standard

This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to practice framed by te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice, and drawing from ​Te Ao Māori principles of oranga to support mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this practice standard. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice shift

I will know I have achieved this standard when...

  • I have taken action each time I have become concerned about risk of harm to te tamaiti, at any point during their engagement with Oranga Tamariki
  • my assessment of risk has taken account of both the immediate safety needs of te tamaiti, and any risks to their long term wellbeing as a result of cumulative harm or unmet need
  • I have thoroughly assessed any new allegation for te tamaiti currently involved with Oranga Tamariki, via a new report of concern
  • I have taken action to identify and address the impact of harm on te tamaiti where harm has occurred, including any trauma they may have experienced
  • I assess the risk to public safety by te tamaiti who has offended
  • I advocate for the best possible outcomes for te tamaiti and challenge when things aren’t right for them.

Quality practice means I also…

  • understand the long term impact of cumulative harm from neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, exposure to family violence, and other factors impacting on te tamaiti
  • reflect on each decision or intervention to determine whether it may cause unintended harm, and seek advice when I am uncertain
  • seek wider support and services to address any trauma experienced by te tamaiti as a result of harm they have experienced
  • keep an on-going focus on any signs that indicate the safety or wellbeing of te tamaiti may be in danger
  • am aware and take action where te tamaiti is at risk of self-harm or harmful behaviour to others
  • foster connections with whānau and whakapapa where this supports the wellbeing of te tamaiti and their needs for attachment and identity
  • understand the effect of offending by te tamaiti on the victims and the community.

Why do we have this standard?

  • As practitioners in Oranga Tamariki, we are fully dedicated to identifying and addressing any risk of harm to tamariki both now, and into their future. When we do identify risks or become aware that harm has occurred for te tamaiti on our caseload, we take immediate action to secure their safety and address the impact of the harm they have experienced. Addressing the risk of harm ‘into the future’ means we must also identify, assess and prevent the ‘cumulative’ harm arising from neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, exposure to family violence and other factors impacting on tamariki.
  • Harm can occur at any point during the service experience of te tamaiti and we always have an obligation to act to keep them and others safe. Our belief is that in the right environment, with the right support, tamariki can flourish. Where te tamaiti has offended, this includes understanding the effect of offending on the victim and the community so we can enhance public safety.
  • We must work to ensure all tamariki experience a safe, stable, loving home at the earliest opportunity. Our assessments will consider the full range of needs impacting on the safety, stability, security, wellbeing and development of tamariki.

How will we know we have made a difference?

This standard will contribute to the following objectives:

  1. Improving the stability of placements, by:
    • reducing the incidence of abuse/maltreatment of tamariki in care.
  2. Improving children’s experience of the support they receive, by:
    • reducing the incidence of abuse/maltreatment of tamariki known to Oranga Tamariki
    • enhancing the quality of response to identified abuse or maltreatment, including services to address the trauma experienced as a result of the harm
    • reducing the level of offending by tamariki
    • supporting te tamaiti to successfully complete their obligations arising from their offending. 

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