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Clinical Network for Child Protection

This site does not accept referrals or provide clinical advice in response to questions. If you are a New Zealand health professional seeking clinical advice, please use your local clinical pathway. If you are a New Zealand child patient, parent or caregiver seeking clinical advice, please contact your usual doctor. You can read the full site disclaimer here.

Purpose of the Network

The purpose of the Child Protection Clinical Network is to assist the Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Ministry of Health to provide a forum for society members with a clinical or research interest in child abuse and neglect to develop policies and strategies; to act as a source of expertise on issues of child abuse and neglect; to assist in the co-ordination of services to abused and neglected children and young people across the country through the development of the child health network; and to advocate for children and young people on all issues related to their health at local, regional and national level. Below are key areas of the network's activities:

Clinical Network Leadership

The Child Protection Clinical Network clinical lead currently is Professor Dawn Elder. Miranda Ritchie is the facilitator for the network. A multi-disciplinary clinical reference group (CRG) provides advice on clinical service issues and leadership to the clinical network as a whole. The CRG meets regularly to manage the key deliverables of the network.

Child Protection Clinical Network across DHBs

A primary goal of the network is to establish a collegial support process for health professionals with an interest in Child Abuse and Neglect and thereby enhance service provision for vulnerable children nationally.

Satellite Day

The Child Protection Clinical Network Clinical Reference Group is charged with providing an annual workshop for multi-disciplinary child protection health professionals via the Child Protection Special Interest Group Satellite Day.  Since 2009, this annual meeting has been held in conjunction with the Paediatric Society of New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting; it provides a useful forum to provide updates on key activities, deliver workforce development and discuss matters of interest. For further information please follow the link to the PSNZ website that provides links to the conference/events page.  

National Child Protection Alert System

The National Child Protection Alert System (NCPAS) is one action that is considered to contribute to achieving the Prime Minister's target of reducing assaults on children.  On 22 August 2012 Ministers Ryall, Bennett and Parata launched the Supporting Vulnerable Children Result Action Plan.  This plan notes the NCPAS as an action within the health response.  The NCPAS is also included within the Better Public Services Plan.  The system includes a robust infrastructure including a Privacy Impact Assessment and as of August 2016, all 20 DHBs are approved to lodge alerts on system.

Memorandum of Understanding between Child, Youth and Family (CYF), Police, and District Health Boards

The Memorandum of Understanding outlines the mutual commitment of CYF, Police and all DHBs to work together to try and ensure that good health and safety outcomes for children and young people and their families are achieved. 

 MOU Click on the image to view a downloadable pdf of this document

The Memorandum of Understanding has four associated schedules. All DHBs have signed up to the Memorandum of Understanding and Schedules 1,2,3 and 4.

Schedule 1: Children admitted to hospital with suspected or confirmed abuse or neglect (view/download here)

Schedule 2: Child, Youth and Family/District Health Board Liaison Social Worker (view/download here)

Schedule 3: Guideline for the Neglect of Medical Care (view/download here)

Schedule 4: Joint Standard Operating Procedures for Children in Clandestine Laboratories (view/download here)

Additional schedules are likely to be added over time, and when approved will be published on this website.

The Memorandum of Understanding requires that all Reports of Concern that a District Health Board (DHB) makes by phone will also be made in writing. The standardised Report of Concern template should be used when making referrals to Child Youth & Family.  The Report of Concern is available as a Word document that can be downloaded here and filled in.

On 1 April 2017, changes in legislation came into effect. They are:

  1. the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (Oranga Tamariki) becomes a legal entity, taking over the current functions of Child, Youth and Family and Children's Action Plan
  2. the age of care and protection was raised to include 17 year olds. The age of a young person under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act now becomes "a boy or girl of or over the age of 14 years but under 18 years". Based on the legislation change, Reports of Concern can now be made up to the age of 18, and tamariki currently in the custody of the Chief Executive will be given the option of remaining in care until they turn 18.

All documents that currently refer to Child, Youth and Family will still be operational. The State Sector Act covers consequential changes for a period of one year. Therefore planning will be required to ensure that all documents and associated forms are identified and updated to refer to Oranga Tamariki. For a period of transition (while the change is socialised) documents may include reference to Oranga Tamariki and Child Youth and Family.

Reports of concern should still be made on the 0508 FAMILY (326459). However, all emails should be sent to (E-mails sent to existing email addresses will automatically come through to the new email address).

From 1 April 2017, the Oranga Tamariki website will be

Child Protection Best Practice Guidelines

The Clinical Network supports the development of the Maternity Care, Wellbeing and Child Protection Best Practice Guidelines.  A national resource kit (including core documents for administering the meeting and recording outcomes/plans) is under development. 

The Privacy Commissioner in November 2014 launched guidance on Sharing Information about vulnerable children. This site includes an interactive escalation ladder.

There is also a Sharing personal information of families and vulnerable children; Guideline for interdisciplinary groups and a PDF version of the Escalation ladder regarding sharing personal information of families and vulnerable children.

Gateway assessments for children and young people

The Clinical Network supports the implementation of Gateway assessments for children and young people who are engaged with CYF. Members of the Child Protection Clinical Network work closely with colleagues from DHBs throughout New Zealand, CYF, the education system and multiple non-governmental organisations to help secure better outcomes for these children and young people and their families. 

Children's Action Plan

The Child Protection Clinical Network is working with the leaders and implementers of the Children's Action Plan.

See to find out more about the establishment of local multi-disciplinary Children's Teams.

Shaken Baby Prevention Programme

The Clinical Network supports the Shaken Baby Prevention Programme, which is a universal education programme tailor-made to the New Zealand context. It provides an opportunity to provide effective, simple and consistent education about infant crying and the harm caused by shaking a baby. Caregivers are provided with helpful tips to support them if they are feeling stressed, and where they can go for help. Funding continues to be available for a National Co-ordinator.

The education is provided face to face or in a group setting and participants are offered an opportunity to watch a DVD (Power to Protect). The DVD features kiwi families whose lives have been affected by shaken baby syndrome, and gives tips on how to cope with a crying baby. An online e-learning module for educators is available at:

For more information contact the National Co-ordinator for Shaken Baby Prevention at

Violence Intervention Programme

The Clinical Network supports the Violence Intervention Programme which has been implemented in all DHBs. For further information contact your local DHB VIP co-ordinator. For further information please follow this link to the Ministry of Health website;

Training for health professionals

Training opportunities are available in many DHBs. Contact your DHB's Child Protection or Violence Intervention Programme co-ordinator for further information.

Two 4 day training workshops for health professionals are hosted every year by Te Puaruruhau (the Child Protection Team at Starship Children's Hospital).

  1. "The medical assessment of sexually abused children & adolescents," run in collaboration with DSAC in March (
  2. "The Assessment of Suspected Physical Abuse in Children" workshop in August (

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