Complaints and investigations
After an investigation – What next?
What can happen after a report’s been investigated?
Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 17, 18
There are three main options:
- The child’s OK – and so Oranga Tamariki doesn’t take any action
- The child’s OK but the family/whānau needs help – and so Oranga Tamariki calls a meeting or hui to try to reach a “family/whānau agreement” to address Oranga Tamariki’s concerns
- The child needs care or protection – and so Oranga Tamariki starts the process of calling a formal Family Group Conference. Later, the Family Court could also get involved.
We explain about these three options next.
If the child’s OK
If the investigators decide the child doesn’t need care or protection according to the grounds in the Oranga Tamariki Act, the family/whānau and the person who made the report will be told, and nothing else will happen. (To find out about those grounds, see “How to respond to Oranga Tamariki’s court application.”)
If the child’s OK but the family or whānau needs help
If it’s decided the child doesn’t need care or protection but the family/whānau may be having difficulties and need support, Oranga Tamariki can call an informal meeting or hui to try to come up with an agreed solution.
Oranga Tamariki calls this a “family/whānau agreement”. The agreement will set out a plan and goals for addressing the concerns.
If Oranga Tamariki think the child needs care or protection
If the investigating social worker believes the child needs care or protection they’ll notify a Care and Protection Coordinator from Oranga Tamariki. The coordinator will arrange a Family Group Conference to plan with the family or whānau how any concerns can be addressed.
In these cases the social worker doesn’t have the option of taking the issue to an informal family/whānau meeting – legally, they have to pass on the case to a Care and Protection Coordinator so that there can be a Family Group Conference.
If Oranga Tamariki thinks the child needs urgent protection, they can take some emergency action, including removing them from their family/whānau or home (see “If Oranga Tamariki takes urgent action”).