Your guide to child and family-friendly policies and procedures

Heart, mind and skills are essential, but policies and procedures are also important. They set base-lines for child and family-friendly practice in an agency.

Here’s a checklist of some key policies and procedures to support child, whānau and family-friendly practice in your agency.


Contact The Policy Place for help with these and other policies and procedures.


Flexible working arrangements  

It’s in the Employment Relations Act but policy and procedure helps clarify:

    • staff entitlements
    • how to request flexible working arrangements
    • how decisions about requests will be made and communicated.

Tamariki in the workplace

To evidence compliance with Social Sector Accreditation Standards – Level 2 policies and procedures should clarify roles and responsibilities for tamariki while on-site, provide for adequate supervision and use of child safe practices.

Address diversity amongst rangatahi and families

Policies and procedures should:

    • promote diversity of access and inclusion in services and workplace
    • prohibit unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment and service delivery
    • require respect for diversity amongst staff, management, governance, clients and visitors to the agency
    • require steps to address barriers to access and participation (eg assistive technology)
    • honour and give effect to the importance of whakapapa and whanungatanga when working with whānau Māori and to cultural equivalents for young people of other  ethnicities.

Inclusion and engagement of children and whānau

Both Social Sector Accreditation Standards and Health and Disability Standards require mahi and engagement with families. Policies and procedures can help clarify how this should be done in:

    • service delivery eg for assessment, planning and transitioning
    • governance eg representation on the Board; input to the Board.

Policies to recognise and support children’s rights to participate in services and decisions that relate to them are a must for Social Sector Accreditation Standards (eg policies for informed consent, feedback and complaints).

Evaluation and ongoing improvement

Feedback and complaint policies should provide for feedback and complaints from family members about their service experience.  They must be age and stage appropriate for tamariki with different abilities.

Support whānau ora/ family wellbeing

Policies and procedures should address:

    • how your agency contributes to family capacity to support and care for their rangatahi
    • service coordination when working with families who are dealing with multiple issues eg trauma and grief, hardship, homelessness
    •  how and when information about family members will be shared (eg family violence concerns).

Best interests and protection of tamariki/rangatahi

Policies and procedures for social, health and disability services must address:

    • responding to concerns about the wellbeing of a tamaiti or young person
    • how conflict between a client and another’s interests will be addressed.

It’s also helpful for agencies to have policies and procedures in place about how challenging behaviours should be managed, the use of child-safe practices and how children’s safety and best interests will be prioritised.

Background and child safety vetting

Police vetting and child safety checks for children’s workers are a must under the Children’s Act 2014.



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