Working with children

Children’s Teams

The Children’s Team approach is a way of working hand in hand with families and whānau to create safer lives for at-risk children. It's not another service, but it’s a different approach.

We work together with other agencies, non-government organisations and communities to put the child first and ensure their voices are heard. Together we share information and create one plan for each child.

It's everyone's responsibility

At the very least, this approach must become part of our everyday behaviour – an expected and routine way of working.

It requires accountability at every level – from chief executives of government agencies in Wellington to front-line workers interacting directly with children and their families.


This table provides the direct contacts for Children's Teams. Important – please never email referrals or any personal information about tamariki or their whānau to the Children’s Team.  Scroll down for information on how to make a referral.

Children’s Team


Phone number


(07) 347 5012


029 237 9147

Horowhenua/Ōtaki (06) 949 8793


(03) 984 7461


(07) 957 6726


(06) 986 4221

Eastern Bay of Plenty

029 200 8482


(06) 965 8111


(03) 961 4393

Counties Manukau

(09) 917 8491



This table of contacts will help you decide how to get in touch when making a referral. Scroll down for important information about how to make a referral. 



You think a child is in immediate danger:

Call the Police on 111

You suspect a child has been experiencing chronic child abuse or neglect, or been physically or sexually assaulted:

Call our contact centre on 0508 326 459


You have concerns about a child who is at risk of abuse or neglect, and you’re a professional or practitioner in:

  • Hamilton
  • Christchurch
  • Counties Manukau
  • Whangarei.

Make a referral to the

Vulnerable Children’s hub

You live in an area where there’s a Children’s Team:

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

Make a referral directly to one of these Children’s Teams

You live outside a Children’s Team area:

Call our contact centre on 0508 326 459


How to make a referral to the Vulnerable Children’s Hub

The hub is a contact point for frontline professionals and practitioners in Hamilton city, Canterbury and Counties Manukau.

The hub undertakes an initial assessment of risk and needs of children and their whānau, and identifies the most appropriate pathway to address those needs. 

Emergency or critical calls received by the hub are forwarded straight to our national contact centre or emergency services like the Police. They could also be referred to a Children’s Team or a universal service.

Making a referral is quick and easy. To refer to the hub, you can:

Call 0800 FOR OURKIDS (0800 367 687)

Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm.

Make an online referral:
Online referral form 

Or complete a paper referral form.
Vulnerable Children's Hub Referral Form

Post or courier it to:

Vulnerable Children’s Hub
PO Box 78013
Grey Lynn
Auckland 1245

When sending the referral, clearly label it as ‘Private and confidential’.

Discuss the referral with the child and family

Although you don't need to have the consent of the family to make a referral to the hub, it's best practice to have a conversation with the family first. Families are more likely to engage with a service if they've been made aware of the referral.

Review your records and the referral form to understand what's required

It's important the hub is given the best information available so they can complete a thorough initial assessment and identify the right pathway for the child and their whānau.

Talk to other practitioners involved

We know valuable information is gathered when professionals talk to each other. That way we get a good picture of what's happening in the child’s life. If possible, discuss your concerns with other professionals and practitioners involved with the child and whānau, and include this in the referral.

Call the hub if you have any questions

Got questions or need help to complete the referral?

Call the hub on 0800 FOR OURKIDS (0800 367 687) Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm. Make sure to provide your contact details in case the hub needs to contact you for more information.

After you’ve made the referral

The hub's social workers will let you know the outcome of your referral. They may also call you if they need to clarify anything.