Oranga Tamariki gets involved when a social worker or the Police think a child is in need of care or protection. In this article, we provide details of what a parent or caregiver can do when they come in contact with Oranga Tamariki.

Parents and caregivers who have come into contact with Oranga Tamariki will often be in one of two situations:

  1. Oranga Tamariki is investigating their family or whānau or has made contact with them because they have concerns about the children;
  2. Oranga Tamariki has applied to the Family Court for a Judge to make care or protection orders under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.

As soon as Oranga Tamariki applies to the Family Court for care or protection orders under the Oranga Tamariki Act, you can apply for legal aid to have a lawyer represent you.

If Oranga Tamariki wants to monitor what’s happening with your child and your whānau, they’ll need to go to a Family Court Judge and apply for Court orders. For example, an order to put your child in the care of Oranga Tamariki (a “custody order”), or possibly an order that you or someone else in your family or whānau isn’t allowed to have contact with the child (a “restraining order”).

Oranga Tamariki will need to show that your child needs care or protection on one of the grounds in the Oranga Tamariki Act.

As the child’s parent, you are given a copy of Oranga Tamariki’s application for orders. You’ll also receive notification of when the case will be dealt with in the Family Court.


If Oranga Tamariki have applied to the Family Court for care or protection orders, you’ll generally have the chance to decide how to respond to them. You’ll be able to say if you don’t agree to it being made and explain why. You typically have to do this within seven days.

If you don’t respond to the application, the Family Court Judge can make a decision without hearing from you.

It can be challenging to respond to Oranga Tamariki’s Court application, so it is essential you seek advice early from a family lawyer.


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Involvement with Oranga Tamariki | JB Morrison