Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki v VM [2020] NZFC 1998

Published 22 June 2022

Application for interim custody order — care and protection — wellbeing and best interests of child — unborn child — drug use — methamphetamine — family violence — mental health concerns — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 14 & 78 — Family Court Rules 2002, r 222A(i) — L and T v Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki — Ministry for Vulnerable Children [2018] NZHC 1420 — Re an Unborn Child [2003] 1 NZLR 115 (HC). Oranga Tamariki applied for interim custody of an unborn child. They argued that the child was in need of care and protection because the mother had admitted using methamphetamine while pregnant. There had also been multiple family violence incidents between the mother and father. At around 30 weeks pregnant the mother had appeared at a hospital, having had no antenatal care, in a manner that caused staff to have concerns for her mental health. She left before the pysch team could perform an analysis and refused to engage any further when staff attempted contact. The Judge was satisfied that there were serious safety risks to the child and that the child's wellbeing and best interests were not being met. An interim order was made placing the unborn child in the custody of Oranga Tamariki, based on the immediate need for care and protection. Neither the mother or father appeared in Court and nobody knew where they were. Judgment Date: 13 March 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *