Clinical Network for Child Protection

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 is Dr Russell Wills, with Sandra Braithwaite as the Project Co-ordinator 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 is 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.  Due to COVID-19, the 2020 satellite day will not be held.

National Child Protection Alert System

The National Child Protection Alert System (NCPAS) is one action that is considered to contribute to child wellbeing.  The system includes a robust infrastructure including a Privacy Impact Assessment supported by Policy Paper. As of August 2016, all 20 DHBs are approved to lodge alerts on the system.

Memorandum of Understanding between Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children (formerly Child, Youth and Family), Police, and District Health Boards

Legislation changes in 2017, resulted in the establishment of Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children (formerly Child Youth and Family). The MOU and schedules that refer to Child, Youth and Family are still operational. The process to review and update the MoU and associated Schedules is in progress.

The Memorandum of Understanding outlines the mutual commitment of Oranga Tamariki (formerly 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. You can view the Memorandum of Understanding here.

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
Schedule 2: Child, Youth and Family/District Health Board Liaison Social Worker
Schedule 3: Guideline for the Neglect of Medical Care
Schedule 4: Joint Standard Operating Procedures for Children in Clandestine Laboratories

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 (0508 326459) will also be made in writing. 

The standardised Report of Concern template should be used when making referrals to Oranga Tamariki. The Report of Concern is available as a word document that can be downloaded here and filled in.

Reports of Concern can be sent by secure email to (E-mails sent to any of the pre-existing email addresses will automatically come through to the new email address).

The Oranga Tamariki website is

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) has been developed and can be accessed by contacting

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 PDF: Sharing personal information of families and vulnerable children; Guideline for interdisciplinary groups which includes the Escalation ladder

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 Oranga Tamariki. Members of the Child Protection Clinical Network work closely with colleagues from DHBs throughout New Zealand, Oranga Tamariki, the education system and multiple non-governmental organisations to help secure better outcomes for these children and young people and their families. 

Power to Protect Programme

The Clinical Network supports the Power to Protect 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. Participants are also offered an opportunity to watch a 10 minute video (Power to Protect) available on a DVD or on YouTube ( The video 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 the Power to Protect Programme 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 MEDSAC in March (

  2. "The Assessment of Suspected Physical Abuse in Children" workshop in August (

For further information on PSNZ / MoH Clinical Network development, please contact Clinical Networks Support Manager, Karyn Sanson,