Caring for children and young people
Updated: 15 June 2021
What's important to us
We want all tamariki (children and young people) to reach their potential. Wherever possible we need to support their whānau or family to care safely for them, and to support extended whānau or family to provide care when tamariki are unable to live with their parents. This includes working in partnership with whānau or family, supporting their participation in decision-making, and the provision of safe and secure care of their tamariki.
This policy outlines key expectations when working with tamariki where Oranga Tamariki has casework responsibility, under an open intervention phase — care or protection and youth justice.
This includes all tamariki involved with Oranga Tamariki through family/whānau agreements, care agreements, plans developed at a family group conference, and court orders. Some sections apply only to tamariki in the custody of the chief executive.
If te tamaiti is in the custody of the chief executive, they must be placed with an approved caregiver. All efforts must first be made to identify a safe and appropriate placement with whānau or family.
Caregivers provide the day-to-day care of te tamaiti and are entitled to a board payment for this care. This also includes placements overseas.
Siblings must be placed together where possible and/or practicable unless there are safety concerns that require addressing.
All tamariki under seven years of age must be secured in an approved child restraint appropriate for their age and size for every ride. Tamariki aged seven years and older must be secured in an approved child restraint or seat belt if one is available.
For more information about child restraints for tamariki, see the NZTA's child restraints save lives brochure.
Status when placing in a Oranga Tamariki residence
A status under s78, s101, s110(2)(a), s235, s238(1)(d) or s311 enable placement in a s364 residence.
Tamariki and rangatahi whose offending is being dealt with in the adult jurisdiction may also be placed in a residence in accordance with the following provisions:
- s34A of the Corrections Act — children and young people sentenced to imprisonment
- s173, s174, s175(1A) or s175(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 — children and young people in remand.
Approval of multiple placements
Approval to place more than one unrelated tamaiti or rangatahi with the same caregiver(s) must be given by the social worker for te tamaiti or rangatahi in consultation with a Caregiver Recruitment and Support Supervisor. This is to ensure the caregiver(s) can meet the individual needs of each tamaiti or rangatahi in their care. Note: Sibling groups must be considered for their individual needs and counted as such.
Approval to place three or more unrelated tamariki or rangatahi with the same caregiver(s) must be given by a Caregiver Recruitment and Support Manager before the placement is made. This number is exclusive of the caregiver's own tamariki.
There must never be more than six tamariki placed in a Family Home at any time.
When tamariki are placed informally (without a custody status) by their parents or usual caregiver, the social worker must assist the whānau or family to ensure the people providing care are financially supported, through either Work and Income, Oranga Tamariki, or other support agencies, to meet the reasonable needs of te tamaiti (e.g. grocery vouchers, petrol costs, emergency clothing, etc).
Approved independent living arrangements
If a traditional care arrangement can't be found or isn't suitable, the rangatahi may be able to live independently if they're over 16, are working or studying, have adequate practical life skills and an identified network of support around them.
When an independent living arrangement can be approved
We can support independent living arrangements for rangatahi who want to live independently if:
- they don't have a traditional care arrangement that they'll agree to remain in, or
- it would be the right thing for their development.
The rangatahi must:
- be 16 or over
- have adequate practical and life skills
- a network of support they can call on for help
- be meaningfully engaged during the day — either in work or study.
Before the arrangement begins
Before the arrangement begins, we must have built safety around the rangatahi by:
- addressing any identified risks
- assessing the safety, suitability and sustainability of the planned living arrangement
- confirming the support network available to the rangatahi
- the site manager giving their approval. If the rangatahi is currently in a residence, the discussion must also include the residence manager.
Once the arrangement begins
Once the arrangement begins, you must:
- visit the rangatahi at least once each week for the first four weeks, to check they are safe and have the support they need
- visit at least every eight weeks while they remain in custody (or more often if agreed in their plan)
- have regular contact (eg via phone or text message) between visits
- continue to monitor, support and help plan their transition from care until they turn 18.