M.03.08.06 Management of mothers with residential children general standards
- The timing of moving into the Mothers with Babies Unit (MBU) will be based on individual needs and availability. This should be considered and planned as part of the panel considerations.
- Upon entry into the unit the mother must be inducted into the unit and have the conditions of the [M.03.08.Form.02 Parenting agreement] explained and understood.
- The social worker will complete [M.03.02.Form.06 Child’s care plan] with the mother and other supports.
The purpose of this plan is to specify how a child who is residing with their mother in prison will have their care and wellbeing needs met. It also outlines the alternative caregiver for the child in the event a mother is unable to care for them.
- The [M.03.02.Form.06 Child’s care plan] should be reviewed on a regular basis (no less than three monthly or if there is an identified change in circumstances) and is to be made readily available to unit staff in case of an emergency.
Staff should seek cultural advice as required.
Cultural birthing practices are considered tapu (scared), such as Māori practices of returning to a woman’s papakainga (homeland) for birth; welcoming the baby into the physical realm with traditional waiata and karakia; tying the umbilical cord with muka (a flax fiber); burying the placenta. There are many other practices in different cultures that should be considered.
We should make every effort to meet the cultural needs pre and post birthing at the request of the expecting mother.
- Mothers will follow normal prison routine as far as possible to do so.
- Mothers assume full responsibility of their child’s care and will be supported to exercise parental responsibility.
- Mothers will be allowed access, where practicable, to a range of social outlets, work and recreational activities, consistent with that available to other women in the prison and according to her offender plan.
- The prison director / residential manager, where appropriate, and so far as is reasonably practicable, shall take steps to ensure that methods used by staff in managing prisoners with children are appropriate, and this may include extra training where necessary.
- In general, mothers will be responsible for their own cooking and cleaning while residing in the unit, including for their child.
- Mothers are responsible for the provision of food items, clothing, and other items required for her child.
Mothers with their child in prison are eligible for financial support through Ministry of Social Development. Staff will need to help facilitate the application process.
See [M.03.08.Res.06 Family assistance benefit / entitlement].
- The day-to-day health needs of the mother will continue to be provided by the prison Health Services. In addition, any post-natal care will be arranged with Health Services and may include a midwife and Plunket / Well Child Tamariki Ora. See [M.03.02.Res.03 Health standards] and/or [Pregnancy Healthcare Pathway].
- As children are not prisoners, the child’s health needs are provided by a local Primary Healthcare Organisation (PHO) or Non-Government Organisation (NGO) community provider, including immunisations.
In the case of an emergency prison Health Services will see the child and/or help facilitate a call for emergency services.
See [M.03.08.Res.05 Health care of the child].