VY v MY [2019] NZFC 2812

Published 20 October 2020

Care arrangements — child returned to whānau — welfare and best interests of child — additional guardians — parenting order — supervised contact — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, ss 67, 78 & 101 — Care of Children Act 2004, ss 4 & 5. This hearing was to determine the care arrangements for a young child who was currently in a temporary placement under the custody of Oranga Tamariki. His close maternal relative (the applicant) sought to have the child placed in her care permanently. Currently, the child saw the applicant and her partner four times per week, including two overnight stays. He had supervised contact with his mother and father. His parents were unable to care for him as his father was in prison and his mother was facing substance addiction issues. Initially Oranga Tamariki opposed the child being placed with the applicant, but subsequently withdrew from this position. The Judge required the applicant's partner to give evidence and was able to determine he posed no safety risks to the child. They had a healthy relationship, and he was essentially the child's koro. The child's father supported the placement with the applicant, having been the victim of abuse when he was in State care, a childhood trauma which he submitted contributed to his ongoing issues with the law. The Court stated that it is always preferable to place a child with whānau where possible. There were no safety issues for the child in the applicant's care, he would be well looked after and she would be able to organise supervised care between the child and parents. The custody order in favour of Oranga Tamariki was discharged. A order was made placing the child in the day-to-day care of the applicant and her partner. They were both made additional guardians. Supervised contact was to occur as agreed between the applicant and parents. Judgment Date: 10 May 2019. * * * Note: names have been changed to comply with legal requirements. * * *