Once an application for the self-care unit or use of a feeding and bonding facility has been made, the prisoner should be referred to an interview and assessment with the case manager allocated to the mothers with children.
The primary purpose of the assessment is for a case manager to determine whether there are any valid care and protection issues associated with the prisoner that need to be addressed.
However, they should also ensure that the prisoner nominates at least two alternative caregivers. It should be explained to the prisoner that this caregiver may be called upon to either:
care for the child outside of the prison once it is born,
care for the child outside of the prison once it is born and bring the child into the prison on a daily basis to feed and bond with the prisoner until it reaches twenty-four months;
care for her child outside the prison once it reaches the upper age limit of twenty-four months and has left the self-care unit; or
uplift the child from the self-care unit in the event of an emergency.
During the assessment the case manager should also obtain the prisoner’s permission to contact the primary nominated alternative caregiver and any other relevant parties (e.g. the child’s father). The purpose of this contact is to explain the roles and responsibilities associated with caring for the prisoner’s child and confirm that they agree to care for the prisoner’s child.
Following this contact, and based on the information they have, the case manager should determine whether they believe there are any valid care and protection issues with the nominated alternative caregiver. This should be outlined in the final report outlining the prisoner’s application to the self-care unit or use of feeding and bonding facilities to the prison’s prison director.
Should the case manager decide that there are valid care and protection issues associated with the nominated alternative caregiver they should discuss this with the prisoner and obtain approval to contact the prisoner’s second choice for alternative caregiver. If the prisoner is unwilling for this to occur notification of the care and protection issues associated with the primary alternative caregiver should be made to Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children for review. This should be submitted by calling the Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children Call Centre on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459).
The case manager and prison director will be informed in writing by Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children of their decision regarding the notification of care and protection issues associated with the alternative caregiver, and the placement of the prisoner’s child. This could involve Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children removing the child from the prisoner once it is born.
Following written notification from Child, Youth and Family, the case manager should ensure that the prisoner is informed of the outcome and where appropriate discuss the nomination of another alternative caregiver.
Should Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children choose not to action the notification or determine that the care and protection issues are not valid the alternative caregiver should be recommended as the primary alternative caregiver in the final report to the prison’s prison director.