How we get involved

How we keep children safe

Every case is different and complex – but the safety, well-being and best interests of the child or young person is the first and most important consideration. 

We look to provide early support for families and opportunities for whānau to care safely for their children. We only consider seeking custody of a child in circumstances of serious harm and when no other option exists to keep the child safe. It's then that we look to place a child with a member of their wider family, whānau, hapū, iwi, or family group or someone in the family network who is able to meet their needs. This includes providing a safe, stable, and loving home until it is safe to reconnect the child with their family. 

Decisions to seek custody are the most serious a social worker will ever make. They don't make these decisions alone but with professional supervision and using agreed tools and approaches.

Use the tabs below to understand our process. 

Report header

Anyone can report a concern

Anyone who is worried about a child or youing person can make a report of concern to Oranga Tamariki or the Police. This happens usually when they believe a child or young person has been or is likely to be harmed, ill-treated, abused, neglected or deprived. Or they have serious concerns about the child or young person's wellbeing. 

When we receive a report of concern we may:

  • Provide advice about support available to the whānau
  • Refer the matter to other social services including our social services partners
  • Make a referral to our Strengthening Families programme or our Children’s Teams.

Or if we think a more formal response is needed we will complete a child and family assessment and/or investigation. A joint investigation with Police takes place when there are allegations of harm which meet our joint Police Child Protection Protocol. 

If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call the Police on 111.

If you're worried about a child and want to make a referral or report of concern, call us on freephone:

0508 326 459

or email contact@ot.govt.nz