How adults can help

Children and young people have told us they would share with trusted adults concerns or ideas about the service they receive from Oranga Tamariki.

Who are trusted adults?

Trusted adults include whānau, caregivers, social workers, teachers, youth workers and other key adults in their lives. 

If that's you, it’s important you know how you can advocate for and support a child to raise their concerns with Oranga Tamariki.

social worker and teen

What is advocacy?

When children and young people have concerns or ideas about the service they receive from Oranga Tamariki they may want to share this with adults they trust. Trusted adults could include whānau, caregivers, social workers, teachers, youth workers and other key adults in their lives. 

Advocacy is about supporting a child to express their own needs and views and to make informed decisions about things that influence their lives. This includes supporting children and young people to make their own choices – not making choices for them.

Tips for advocacy

Children and young people have told us that if they’re relying on an adult to help them share a concern, they need that adult to be trustworthy, reliable and caring. 

When supporting a child there are three main things they need from you:

  • Support throughout the process – stay involved.
  • Privacy – only tell those who need to know. Read more about information sharing
  • Share what matters to the child, not to you.

Other important things to consider are:

  • An advocate must never promote or support any other individual or organisation's needs or wishes (including their own) when they are advocating for a child. To do so would result in a conflict of interest.
  • If an advocate feels unable to support the child because of the above, someone else should be asked to provide advocacy support.
  • Be aware of the rights of children and young people.
  • Help the child access the information they need.
  • Be clear that information about the child will not be shared without their agreement, except in very specific circumstances.
  • Do not do anything the child does not want you to do, except where the law requires it.
  • Irrespective of who is providing advocacy to a child, it is crucial that everyone is clear about the boundaries of the role.
  • Be aware that, while you are there to support the child’s voice to be heard, you are part of a wider team supporting the child and should talk to Oranga Tamariki if you need help or guidance.
Photo of Young girl

Letting a child know how you can help

It’s important you let the child know how you will support them to come to a solution, and to keep developing trust. 

Here are some things you could talk through with them:

As your advocate, I will:

  • speak with you about your issue
  • help you to get the information you need
  • support you to consider who is best placed to help you share your views – someone else like an advocate from VOYCE Whakarongo mai might be better placed to support you.
  • help you to express your views
  • help you understand any decisions that may impact on you and explain why those decisions were made.

Everything we discuss will be confidential, unless:

  • we think you are in a dangerous or life threatening situation
  • you are likely to be a serious danger to others
  • the law tells us to pass on information, in which case we may have to tell someone who will look after you
  • you want me to share information after we’ve talked.

Who to contact

You can help a child raise their concerns with Oranga Tamariki through talking to their social worker, the site duty social worker, or VOYCE – Whakarongo mai.

Voyce – Whakarongo mai: advocacy service for children in care

If you're a child or young person in care, VOYCE – Whakarongo mai is an independent connection and advocacy service, separate from Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children, and we're here to listen to you, support you, and be on your side. Part of what we also do is organise fun and engaging events for kids with care experience so you can connect with each other.

Chat to us -
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Published: June 14, 2019 · Updated: September 9, 2021