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This will happen many times a day throughout NZ if the Braqdford bill gets past

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 5, 2007

Source:  NZPLC (New Zealand Principal and Leadership Centre Legal Website.)

Child Youth and Family Services and the Police

There are times, when either the Police, or social workers from Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) may come to the school to interview children, or to remove children. Particular instances are discussed below.

Visits by CYFS to Interview Children

There are a number of occasions on which a social worker is authorised by the Court to interview a child. These are outlined below:

1. To investigate any report made to the Department that a child has been ill-treated or neglected under Section 15 of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act (CYPF Act). Under Section 17 of the CYPF Act, a social worker or a member of the Police is required to investigate any such complaint.

2. In custody and access proceedings it is not unusual for a Family Court Judge to direct that a report be obtained by a social worker in relation to the applications. This direction is made under Section 29 of the Guardianship Act or S186 of the CYPF Act. The social worker may wish to attend at the school to interview the child away from the parents.

3. There are a number of sections under the CYPF Act that can give either interim custody or custody to the Department. These are Sections 78, 101 and 102 of the CYPF Act. In addition, the Department may obtain a Place of Safety Warrant under Section 39 of the CYPF Act or reach a temporary care agreement with the custodians under Sections 40 and 139 of the same Act. Orders under these sections would authorise a social worker to remove a child from the school.

4. The Family Court may make an Order under Section 10B of the Guardianship Act placing a child under the guardianship of the Court. It may then appoint the Department to act as its agent. This is sometimes known as a “wardship” application. Wardship can also be ordered by the High Court. If the Department is appointed as the Court’s agent, then the Wardship Orders may authorise a social worker to remove a child from the school.

If a school is contacted by a social worker seeking to interview a child, the school is entitled to ask why the child is to be interviewed. In the situations in paragraph 2-4 above it would be expected that the social worker could produce a copy of a Judge’s Order verifying their right to interview the child. However, it is important to be mindful, that where urgent reports are sought, a written record of the Court Order might not yet be available.

If the report writer is interviewing the child by direction of the Court to obtain a Section 29 report, then the author’s view is that the school should make the child available and is not required to seek the parent’s permission first. The school would be entitled to rely on the Court Order that the report be obtained and to facilitate the obtaining of that report.

Visits by Police

As with social workers, where a report is made to the Police under Section 15 of the CYPF Act of ill-treatment or neglect, the Police are required to investigate the complaint and may do so by visiting the child at school. It would not be unreasonable for the school to ask the Police why they wish to interview the child. However, it is up the Police to check they comply with the law and the school would be entitled to take their request as indicating that they have authority to interview the child.

Notification to the Parents

There have been cases where parents or guardians have refused permission for a social worker to interview the children. In Re the C Children, 10 April 2000, Judge Inglis QC, FC Tauranga, CYPF 070/045/99, Judge Inglis QC rejected the mother’s claim that the evidence of the social worker’s interview with the children was inadmissible because she had told social worker that the children were not to be interviewed except in her presence. The Court held that the rights and responsibilities of a parent or guardian exist only to the extent that they are exercised for the welfare of the child and noted “it is not a proper exercise of the responsibilities of parenthood to decline, to consent, to [the] interview of a child in a case such as this if the reason for declining consent is to protect the parent from the consequences of any disclosure the child may make or to inhibit properly inquiry into the parent’s behaviour”.

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Author/SourceGubb and Partners – 2003

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One Response to “This will happen many times a day throughout NZ if the Braqdford bill gets past”

  1. Jay said

    Bradford; get a life (your own)

    Keep the > F $#%@ OUT OF OURS!!!

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