Care of children

Can social workers come to the school to interview or remove a child?

There are a number of occasions on which a social worker from Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children is authorised by the courts to interview or remove a child.

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. Oranga Tamariki should be able to provide the reasons for the request in writing.

When a request is received, call NZSTA. NZSTA, or a lawyer approved by your school insurer, can help assess the validity of the reasons given, the risks of releasing any personal information, and the factors you may wish to consider when deciding how you will respond.

Notifying parents of the visit will normally be the responsibility of the ministry. You should discuss this with the social worker so that you know what is happening.

If the social worker comes with a warrant, they should show it and verify their identity. 

Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, section 8 – Legislation website

NZSTA advisory and support centre

See also:

Reporting abuse protocols (PDF) – Ministry of Education

Working with children – Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children

Social workers in schools programme – Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children

Updated: February 2018

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