Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development v TM and XJ [2016] NZFC 1627

Published 31 July 2016

Domestic violence — permanent placement — Home for Life — Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989, ss 5, 6, 13, 78, 101, 110, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989. The Judge dismissed a s 78 interim custody order in favour of the applicant, and approved a plan aimed at a “Home for Life” for the child. A s 101 custody order was made in the applicant’s favour, while also being appointed an additional guardian under s 110. In coming to a decision, the Court was tasked with balancing fundamental principles under the CYPFA and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The balanced principles were those of the welfare and best interests of the child, against the significance and maintenance of the biological family unit. In light of the risks posed by the mother and father, it was deemed in the best interests of the child that a plan towards establishing a “Home for Life” with the maternal aunt and uncle be implemented. Violence, criminal offending and the absence of stability were factors which undermined the positions of the mother and father. **Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements.