When children and young people move (including overseas)
Updated: 09 November 2022
Changing locations is a particularly vulnerable time for mokopuna, which means it is even more important that we continue to be child-centred in our every interaction and always put the best interests of mokopuna first. This includes their need for cultural connectivity. It is our job to make sure their transition is as smooth as possible.
This policy outlines requirements when mokopuna are living outside their home country or travelling internationally. There is a new policy for casework responsibilities when our work involves more than 1 site – when tamariki are living outside their normal area or travelling within New Zealand. There is also a separate travel policy.
Practice framework prompts for this policy
Our practice framework helps us make sense of and organise our practice so it is framed in te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi), and draws from te ao Māori principles of oranga, within the context of our role in statutory child protection and youth justice in Aotearoa New Zealand.
How will I make sure that the right of te tamaiti or rangatahi to maintain and strengthen their relationships with their family, whānau, hapū, iwi and family group and whakapapa connections is upheld when they are living overseas?
What do the narratives of the whānau or family tell me about their views and experiences of being separated from important people and places? Have I considered the historical context of this whānau or family, and how I can incorporate their experiences and beliefs into my work with them?
How am I exploring opportunities for te tamaiti or rangatahi to connect with, and express, their identity and cultural practices in the country they will being living in? What steps will I need to take to support te tamaiti or rangatahi to continue to be connected or remain connected to whakapapa?
How will I facilitate conversations for guardians to remain fully involved and resolve potential differences in a way that respects the views of all involved?
How could my own experiences help me understand grief and loss te tamaiti or rangatahi and their whānau or family may experience as a result of separation? What impact might this separation have on the collective oranga of the whānau or family and how might I accommodate this in my practice?
Mokopuna in the custody of the chief executive, or for whom the chief executive is party to a plan resulting from a family group conference, will only be placed overseas under exceptional circumstances when:
- the overseas placement is in their best interests; and
- the overseas authority has recommended that the proposed caregivers are safe and suitable; and
- the chief executive’s legal obligations have been discharged by the Court or any plan the chief executive is party to has been reviewed and concluded; and
- upon departure from New Zealand the case is closed; and
- the mokopuna is able to permanently reside in the relevant country; and
- the new caregivers are able and willing to legally assume custody and guardianship of the mokopuna.
Overseas placement is a guardianship decision and the consent of all guardians in writing must be obtained prior to the placement being made. This includes consent from any additional guardians granted under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 or the Care of Children Act 2004. If the guardians are not in agreement about the overseas placement, the Family Court must make the final decision.
The placement must be approved by the DCE Service Delivery.
When the family group conference is being held as a result of a s19 referral by a Child and Family Support Service, that service is responsible for taking adequate steps to check that the prospective caregivers are able to adequately meet the care and protection needs of the mokopuna.