28 Jun 2022

Agencies agree on some guidelines for removal of babies from whānau

7:29 pm on 28 June 2022

Local agreements around the controversial practice of state agencies uplifting babies are being developed across the country.

Baby feet in mother hands. Tiny Newborn Baby's feet on female Shaped hands closeup. Mom and her Child. Happy Family concept.

Photo: 123RF

The government promised eight months ago to transform the practice of newborn babies being taken from their mothers after video of an attempted uplift by Oranga Tamariki in Hawke's Bay in 2019 sparked widespread outrage.

A health board risk register last December said the guiding principles - within a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU - were "not current", lacked cohesion and governance, and that there were "gaps" in training and training resources.

New guidelines have been agreed between Oranga Tamariki, district health boards, the Health Ministry, police, iwi and the Paediatric Society child protection special interest group.

One new set developed in March covered the safety of unborn and newborn pēpi, and their whānau "in a health setting", the ministry said.

Within this, local agreements were still being worked on by iwi and agencies to cover when an interim custody order was granted, "to respect the individuality and needs of each region".

Since then, changes to the MOU had been made to update practice, policy and references to legislation, the health ministry said.

Oranga Tamariki said "frontline clinicians" had had input.

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