From July 1, 2019 there are new rules around information sharing about children to support their safety and wellbeing.
The introduction of the Family Violence Act, changes to the Oranga Tamariki Act and a new set of National Care Standards introduce rules about information sharing between agencies and people involved in a child’s care; for example, between schools, teachers, GPs and social workers.
Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
Changes to information sharing provisions under the Oranga Tamariki Act from 1 July will provide a framework for early learning services, schools and kura kaupapa to use when working together with other agencies or people, to support the wellbeing and safety of children.
In practice, these changes are likely to be more directly relevant for educators than the new information sharing provisions under the Family Violence Act, because they involve children.
The Ministry of Education is developing specific guidance for the education sector about these changes. The guidance will be available in early July. Contact the Ministry on email@example.com if you have a question or query.
Oranga Tamariki have guidance on how to apply the new provisions, with input from a wide range of agencies and frontline staff from across the social services sector. Their guide outlines how to consult with tamariki about sharing their information if appropriate. A fact sheet for an overview of the changes to the legislation is also available. If you have any questions about the guidance or how it relates to your practice, you can contact the Oranga Tamariki Helpline: firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0508 463 674.
Family Violence Act 2018
Changes to family violence legislation from 1 July are part of the government’s wider work programme for transforming response to family violence.
Teachers with current practising certificates or limited authority to teach, as well as the Ministry of Education, school boards, and licensed early childhood services are covered by new information sharing provisions. As social service practitioners, you are required to consider sharing information if it may help protect a victim from family violence, or if you receive a request for information.
The Ministry of Education is developing specific guidance for the education sector about these changes. The guidance will be published in early July.
Family Violence Act guidance and fact sheet is available on the Ministry of Justice website. Their guidance document has useful case examples, including one about a teacher sharing information about a student to a social worker for a permitted purpose.
National Care Standards
The standards aim to ensure that every tamaiti and rangatahi in the care of Oranga Tamariki receives an excellent standard of care.
They include provisions to support collaboration and information sharing between a child’s social worker and their educator, for the benefit of the child.
The level of collaboration set out in the new standards is similar to what would be requested from an active and involved parent.
The standards will be implemented gradually, with incremental improvements over time. More information is available on the Oranga Tamariki website.