When children and young people are living away from home or travelling
What's Important To Us
Children or young people temporarily living away from home need support and monitoring from a co-worker in their locality. When children and young people are travelling it is important that the arrangements are safe and appropriate and that the child or young person feels comfortable and secure.
This key information outlines site responsibilities when children and young people temporarily live away from home, and factors to consider when children and young people are travelling (including air travel).
There are times when children and young people temporarily live away from their normal home (such as when attending boarding school or specialist family homes or youth justice programmes). When a child or young person is living away from home, the management of the case remains with the site where the child or young person usually lives.
It is the responsibility of the home office to advise the office nearest where the child or young person will be of the situation, including where they are, for how long and who the contact is. This is recorded in CYRAS and a telephone call to the office assists with discussing the child or young person's plan and considering if a co-worker is required.
It is also be important to ensure that family/whānau members, particularly parents, remain connected to the child or young person while they are living outside their district. Discussions may need to occur between the two offices about how this will occur, and how the family/whānau will continue to be informed about the child or young person's situation and care.
If the child or young person’s living situation becomes permanent then the originating office is responsible for requesting a case transfer.
When we are involved with children and young people who are travelling, either around the country or internationally, it is important to ensure that safe travel arrangements are put in place. While each situation will be different there are a number of factors that should be considered including:
- the age and developmental stage of the child or young person
- their emotional wellbeing
- the purpose of the travel
- how long the travel is going to take and how to ensure their wellbeing before, during and after travel
- whether they need someone with them, or who will deliver or collect them from their travel.
Ideally no child under the age of 14 years should travel unaccompanied.
In circumstances where the child or young person is able to travel unaccompanied, arrangements must be in place for them to be met at the end of the travel. Adequate consideration must be given to the child or young person’s safety and supervision while in transit.
While there are specific requirements governing the escorting of children and young people to and from residences, decisions about safe travel in all other circumstances can be made at a local level on a case by case basis.
For a child or young person whose behaviour may be challenging, air travel may not be the best option. Consideration of their safety and wellbeing as well as those of the people accompanying them and the public is important in determining the most appropriate mode of travel. It is important to also remember that if a young person has dual status (both care and protection and youth justice) the youth justice detention aspects takes precedence.
Airlines have policies in relation to children and young people travelling alone which must be followed when booking tickets and travelling. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the airlines have agreed that children and young people can be divided into three broad groups:
- those who travel by air and do not need to be escorted because of their level of maturity e.g. visiting family, holidays
- those who travel by air and are escorted because their level of maturity means Oranga Tamariki does not wish them to travel alone
- those who travel by air and are escorted because their behaviour or circumstances indicate they may be a risk to themselves or others. This includes any child or young person whose behaviour is likely to cause concern while travelling. Two adults can be used for children and young people in this group. The social worker, in consultation with their supervisor, may make a judgement call as to who is suitable to travel with the child/young person. In these circumstances the airline is advised.
Aviation Security Service staff are able to screen and undertake reasonable searches of any person boarding certain aircraft. They are also permitted to search a child or young person if the child or young person consents.