Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development v Hope Clayton [2016] NZFC 2280

Published 31 July 2016

Contact — access — Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989, ss 6, 121, 178. A s 121 access order was made in the mother’s favour to have supervised access for two hours every three weeks. The father could be present at access but no order could be made in respect of him as he had not yet turned 18. The child, who was almost two, had been declared a child in need of care or protection under the Act. The parents sought extended contact but a psychologist report determined this was not in the child’s best interests as there was concern about the parent’s ability to maintain interest and attention in the child during an increased contact period. The contact was sought on an interim basis until a permanent placement was determined for the child, and the psychologist was concerned that the parents would not be motivated to continue attending contact if the child was not returned to their care. The Judge agreed that it was not in the child’s best interests to create in him an expectation that he was going to be seeing his parents on a regular basis if that could not be maintained by them once a permanent placement decision was made. **Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements.