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Printed: 15/04/2021
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Last updated: 07/12/2020

Strengthening Families interagency meeting to support family/whānau

At a Strengthening Families coordination meeting, a family/whānau works in partnership with government and community agencies to identify what would help the family/whānau meet the needs of their tamariki and rangatahi.

Upcoming changes for this guidance

This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to Māori-centred practice and a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice in supporting mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this guidance. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Staff resource: Supporting Māori-centred practice

What is Strengthening Families

Strengthening Families uses a strengths-based process where we take the opportunity to look at the issues that family/whānau face.

The Strengthening Families approach involves a meeting between a family/whānau and all the agencies they're currently working with, or that may be able to support them. There are 3 main aims:

  • The family/whānau is actively involved – they are often the best people to identify what would help them meet the needs of their tamariki and rangatahi.
  • The agencies work together, rather than independently.
  • The family/whānau and the agencies make a plan for cooperatively meeting the needs of the tamariki and rangatahi.

Having a joint meeting also:

  • saves the family/whānau from having to repeat the same information to multiple agencies
  • helps everyone see the big picture.

Setting up a Strengthening Families meeting

Any family/whānau member or agency can contact a local Strengthening Families coordinator to start the process.

Local contacts – Strengthening Families website

Any family/whānau wanting to be involved in the Strengthening Families process needs to give their written consent to the meeting.

The family/whānau also decides:

  • what the key issues are
  • when and where the meeting will be held
  • who should be invited – they can even choose which individuals come to the meeting from the agencies involved.

Disclosing family/whānau information

Each agency should only disclose information that is necessary for the meeting.

The family/whānau should be told what information will be shared beforehand.

We should ask the family/whānau if there is any information they want to remain confidential.

We can also talk with our supervisor, practice leader and site lawyer about what information can be shared.

Sharing information about tamariki and rangatahi

Recording decisions in a Strengthening Families action plan

The meeting should result in an action plan that:

  • is based on the strengths, needs and priorities identified by the family/whānau
  • identifies a lead agency who coordinates the work of all the agencies
  • identifies a key contact to keep in touch with the family/whānau between meetings to ensure the plan is working for them.