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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/previous-practice-centre/policy/caring-for-children-and-young-people/resources/when-a-child-or-young-person-dies/
Printed: 22/10/2019
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When a child or young person dies

Updated: 31 July 2017

This key information outlines what to do when a child or young person dies while in care.

Oranga Tamariki works closely with some of the most vulnerable children and young people in New Zealand, and a sad reality is that we may be involved with them when they die.

Whether these deaths are intentional, accidental, related to illness or disability, or unforeseen (e.g. Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy), they are all tragedies in their own right.

The death of a child or young person is a tragic and traumatic event, particularly for their family and others involved in their life. When Oranga Tamariki is involved with a child or young person who has died, it is important that we respond appropriately and sensitively and that we acknowledge the grief and loss that will be experienced by those people close to them, including caregivers and any professionals working with the child or young person.

The deaths of children and young people as a result of homicide or suicide is particularly distressing and media attention and wider public interest in these tragic events can add to people’s distress. The safety of other children and young people, staff wellbeing and the support of family/whānau are key considerations during this time. It is important that timely and appropriate supports are made available to those people directly affected by the death, including yourself and other professionals.