Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki v JS [2020] NZFC 3632

Published 30 April 2021

Placement — child in need of care and protection — wellbeing and best interests — Maori child — mana tamaiti — whanaungatanga — whakapapa — whanau — Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 4, 5, 7AA, 13, 67, 78, 101, 110 & 135. This hearing was to consider for approval a revised care plan for a young child who had been deemed in need of care and protection. The child had been living with state caregivers for his whole life and had been with his current non-kin caregivers for nearly three years. The plan stated that contact would be arranged with the child's extended whanau and his half-siblings, and that he would be supported to know significant people in his life. Lawyer for child raised several issues with the plan, and sought clarification on these matters. An aunt had been identified as a potential caregiver but this had not been explored further and had subsequently been revoked. Up until the current hearing, six-monthly plan reviews had been conducted and the plans approved. The Judge now considered that the plan was inadequate as it did not comply with obligations as required under the recent amendments to the Oranga Tamariki Act. The plan placed emphasis on finding permanent whanau caregivers for the child but lacked the understanding that connection with whanau needed to occur regardless of permanent placement options with whanau. The Judge declined to approve the plan, instead directing that a revised plan be filed which took into account the issues raised. The review hearing was adjourned to a later date. Judgment Date: 26 August 2020. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *