Recording policy

What's Important To Us

The primary role of a social worker is to work with and support families/whānau to protect and care for their mokopuna. Recording is a vital element of good social work practice – timely recording facilitates analysis and reflection, supports supervision, is a means by which social workers can be accountable for their actions and decision making, and demonstrates their integrity as a social worker.

Moreover the information stored in our computer system is a record of the story of the mokopuna during the time we were working with them, and it helps us understand what has happened in their life at any point in time. It must always be up to date, accurate, relevant, and the language used be child-centred and free from jargon, particularly as the mokopuna has the right to view their records at any point in time. Accurate recording also supports our commitment to data quality.

This policy highlights the expectations around recording and identifies the key practice areas where recording will be focused. 

Recording is a priority area for our service, and we have developed a practice session called ‘Recording: A child’s story’ to help strengthen practice on sites. Click here for this and other practice sessions currently available. 


Case recording is an important aspect of care and protection and youth justice social work.

Records should be:

  • child-centred
  • succinct and accurate
  • timely
  • relevant
  • differentiate opinion from fact.

Although a lot of information may be considered recordable, focus should be primarily on the following practice areas:

  • discussions and decisions made during supervision
  • assessment and practice tool application and outcomes
  • plans, reviews and reports
  • critical and key decisions made, the rationale behind these decisions and the actions taken; this is particularly important in order to record case progress and any changes in the direction of the case
  • recording the views and voices of mokopuna and their families/whānau (the Three Houses is especially helpful for this).
  • information that provides a record of Child, Youth and Family’s role in the life of the mokopuna
  • personal and demographic details of mokopuna and their families/whānau.

All data must be recorded accurately for business purposes.


A genogram must be created for every mokopuna when a family group conference is required.

Disability and ethnicity and iwi affiliation


It is important to capture data on the mokopuna with disabilities that we work with to gain a clearer picture of their circumstances and needs. Therefore, data on any known impairment should be recorded on CYRAS in the Person Characteristics box, located in Person Details screen. Your Tuituia assessment will also highlight any Person Characteristics relating to disability - if these are incorrect or don't show, double-check to make sure you have recorded them correctly. Click here for information on how disability can be identified.

Using the Person Characteristics field to record other issues

The Person Characteristics field in CYRAS provides a number of descriptors including mental health, medical issues and severe behavioural disorders. Multiple characteristics can be entered for a person, but they must be entered one at a time.

Ethnicity and iwi affiliation

It is important that Child, Youth and Family has comprehensive ethnicity data in order to:

  • deliver services in a culturally appropriate manner
  • establish the need for culturally appropriate publications
  • identify significant communities of interest
  • evaluate the effectiveness of various programmes among different client groups
  • identify areas where particular cultural and language skills may be required

Recording iwi affiliation is additionally important, as it:

  • assists social workers in placing mokopuna Māori o they can seek approved caregivers of the same iwi or hapū
  • protects the whakapa of mokopuna Māori
  • ensures mokopuna Māori receive various entitlements; for example, some iwi have financial grants available for mokopuna affiliated with them.

Mokopuna in care

There are some specific recording requirements for mokopuna in the custody of the chief executive, or for whom the chief executive continues to provide support following permanency. 

For all mokopuna who have custody awarded in favour of the chief executive, the following information must be recorded on CYRAS:

  • demographic information
  • current legal status
  • placement record, and caregiver name and relationship
  • permanency goal, including; concurrent goal, the date permanency planning begins, the date permanency is achieved
  • "All about me" care information if the mokopuna is placed out of their parents’ care
  • a financial plan that reflects the care situation.

In addition, when a mokopuna is placed with a s.396 caregiver (including respite), the name of the caregiver with whom the mokopuna is placed must be included in the participant tab in the computer record of the mokopuna at the time of placement. This may require establishing Person Details for these caregivers before attaching them to the participant tab.

For all mokopuna in the custody of any another party, and for whom we make payments through contracted bed-nights, the following information must be recorded on CYRAS:

  • demographic information
  • current legal status
  • placement record, and caregiver name and relationship.

Please note that the 'return home' permanency goal can only be used if the mokopuna is being returned home to the caregiver who had the previous care of them (before they were placed in the custody of the chief executive). It is not appropriate to select this as a goal when the mokopuna is being placed with a parent who has never previously cared for the mokopuna. In this situation, a permanency goal of 'placement with family/whānau' is the correct choice.

Updated 24 February 2017