Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki v MA [2021] NZFC 7360

Published 22 October 2021

Declaration — child in need of care and protection — serious injuries — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 14, 78 & 128. Oranga Tamariki (OT) applied to the Court for a declaration that a now two-year-old child and his older sibling were in need of care and protection, and for custody and additional guardianship orders. The incident giving rise to the proceedings was an admission to hospital for life-threatening injuries. The then 16-week-old baby had a serious brain bleed which required surgery. While in hospital, scans showed the baby had also suffered three fractures to his arm which were deemed by medical specialists to be non-accidental injuries. The issues for determination at the hearing were whether the child and his older sibling were in need of care and protection, and if so, whether the Court should make custody and additional guardianship orders and whether any other plans should be put in place. Having considered the medical evidence and evidence of the parents the Judge concluded that the evidence of non-accidental injury was the most likely cause. The Judge determined that the children were not safe in their parents' care and made a declaration that they were in need of care and protection. The children were already subject to s 78 interim custody orders. The Judge left these orders in place and adjourned the matter for six weeks so that a plan for the children could be drafted by OT. Judgment Date: 27 July 2021. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *