Referring to Children's Teams

This page contains advice on how to make a referral directly to a Children's Team.


If you are concerned about a child (unborn to under 18 years) you can refer them to a Children’s Team. Referrals to a Children’s Team can be made by professionals and practitioners from any agency or organisation.

You can refer directly to Children’s Teams in:

  • Horowhenua/Ōtaki
  • Eastern Bay of Plenty
  • Marlborough
  • Rotorua
  • Tairāwhiti (Gisborne)
  • Whanganui
  • Whangarei

If you are in Christchurch, Hamilton or Counties Manukau, you must refer to the Vulnerable Children’s Hub. If you are not in any of the team locations, check out How to Refer for more options.

Find out more about Children's Teams and how they work. If you have any questions about making a referral, contact your local Children’s Team.


Steps to making a referral

Follow these steps when making a referral to a Children’s Team:

Step 1: Discuss the referral with the child and family

You must have the family’s consent to make a referral directly to a Children’s Team.

When talking to the family/whānau, outline your concerns and tell them why it is impacting on their child’s health and development. Tell them why you think the Children’s Team could help. This can be a difficult conversation - watch the video examples of how to have these conversations.

You can also refer them to our website which tells families/whānau what they need to know about working with a Children’s Team.


Step 2: Review the referral form to understand what information is required

To collect the required information:

  • review your service records for the child
  • discuss with other professionals and practitioners involved with the child, your concerns, and ask them to provide information from their records that will inform your referral.

You can use the Children’s Team Entry Criteria Form [DOCX, 595 KB] as a prompt to consider the range of needs that impact on a child’s health and development. This will help you bring the information available together to provide the most complete picture possible for the referral. 


Step 3: Complete the Children’s Team referral form

Download the Children's Team referral and consent form. [DOCX, 1002 KB]

You will need to provide the following information:

  • Demographic and contact details – of child /ren, their siblings and parent/caregiver’s
  • Presenting concern/s – the current situation or reason that has led to you referring this child/ren
  • History of the service, care and support provided to address the presenting concern/s - your analysis of the child and family needs, implemented actions to meet those needs  and progress and outcomes achieved  to date for this child/ren and their family
  • Child’s family composition and household living arrangements - people living in the same household and their relationship to the child
  • Your contact details as the referrer
  • Agreement that child and family consent to the referral to the Children’s Team and to share child and family’s personal information with the Children’s Team Panel

Identify any risks to professional safety when making a home visit.


Step 4: Deliver, mail or courier the completed referral form to the Children’s Team office

  • Addresses can be found under each team.
    • Alternatively, you can contact the Children’s Team and they will collect it.
    • Never email referrals or sensitive information about a child and their family/whānau to a Children’s Team.
    • If you have any questions about making a referral, contact your local Children’s Team.