Ministry for Vulnerable Children v RW [2017] NZFC 7122

Published 08 September 2017

Reserved judgment — care arrangements — whether custody orders should be discharged — whether additional guardianship orders should be discharged — whether social worker's plan should be approved — application to report proceedings — whether child adequately cared for — best interests of child — child's welfare — restraining order — Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 — MEM v Chief Executive of Ministry of Social Development. The subject child was in a Ministry care home. She absconded from care on a number of occasions. During the periods that she was missing, the child is alleged to have been raped three times. The court made determinations about whether to discharge custody and additional guardianship orders; whether a restraining order against the child's mother should be discharged; and whether a social worker's plan regarding the child should be approved. The mother wanted the child to be returned to her care, and said that the Ministry was unable to care for the child, and could not be trusted to provide the child with a safe and nurturing environment, and exposed her to serious risk. The court had regard to the likely consequences for the child if she was returned to her mother, and found that it would not be in the child's welfare or interests to discharge the custody and additional guardianship ordered. The court further found that the mother was likely to persist in her strong view that the child should be in her care, and that as a result there was a serious risk that the mother would try to contact the child to encourage her to return home and undermine her placement which was not in the child's welfare and interests. A final restraining order against the mother was made. The revised plan submitted by the child's social worker was approved. The court was also asked to rule on the extent to which a media report of the proceedings could be published. Leave was granted for a report on the proceedings identifying the Ministry as a party. Judgment Date: 5 September 2017. * * * Note: Names have been changed to comply with legal requirements * * *