We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

If you're concerned about the safety and wellbeing of a child, this page lets you know what you can do.  If you're already working with Child, Youth and Family, you can find out more about your rights and how you can make a complaint. 

Questions on this page:

I'm concerned about the safety of a child - what can I do?

If you see or hear about a child who is in immediate danger, don’t wait - and don’t assume someone else is acting. Contact the Police on 111 or Child, Youth and Family on 0508 326 459.

We're all responsible for keeping children safe in our families and communities, so it's important to talk to someone about your concerns. You can

  • Talk to the parent or another member of the family or whānau about your concerns
  • Talk to someone else who knows the family well, eg, a friend, neighbour, workmate or teacher
  • Link the family up with others who can support them
  • Talk to someone experienced, for a different point of view, or for ideas about how to help.
  • Call a helpline for free, confidential advice and support:
    • Parent Help – 0800 568 856
    • Child, Youth and Family – 0508 326 459
    • Are You OK – 0800 456 450 (Family Violence Information Line).

If you’re worried that nothing’s happening, let someone in your neighbourhood or community know, like a community worker, health worker, church leader or kaumātua from the local marae. Trust your judgement and keep trying until your concerns are taken seriously.

You can find more information about the signs of abuse and neglect and how to get help, on the Children's Action Plan website

I'm not happy with Child, Youth and Family - how do I make a complaint? 

Child, Youth and Family has a service commitment that sets out what you can expect when you work with them. 

If you’re not happy with the service you’ve received:

1. First try to resolve the issue with the social worker or the office you’ve been working with

2. If you’re not happy with their response, you can make a formal complaint by:

3. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can ask for the Chief Executive’s Advisory Panel to review your complaint.  To ask for a review, write to: National Manager, Review Secretariat, Ministry of Social Development, PO Box 1556, Wellington 6140

4. If you’re not satisfied with the outcome of the Panel’s review, you can contact:

My child is in Child, Youth and Family's care - what are their rights and how do they make a complaint?

There is a charter that lets children know about the rights they have when they're living in the care of Child, Youth and Family.  There is a charter for children under 12 and a version for teenagers

If your child isn't happy about their care, they have the right to make a complaint.  You can find out more on the Child, Youth and Family website.

If you have immediate concerns about a child's wellbeing


  • Child, Youth and Family on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459) or
  • Police on 111

For information about the signs of abuse and neglect and how to get help, visit Child, Youth and Family's website or the Children's Action Plan website

For more information or advice

Call our Child Rights Line free on 0800 224 453 from Monday to Wednesday 9am to 5pm, Thursday 9am to 4pm. Please note our Child Rights Line does not operate on Fridays. 

If you need an interpreter, just ask for language line and the language you want when you call us.

You can also send us an email at advice@occ.org.nz


Articles 18 to 21 and 25 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) outline the rights of children at home, if they are adopted, and if they are in foster care