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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/care/caregivers/assessing-and-approving-caregivers-and-adoptive-parents/
Printed: 24/04/2024
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Last updated: 05/08/2019

Assessing and approving caregivers and adoptive parents

We need to build engagement and trust with people wanting to care for tamariki and support them through assessment and approval.

Upcoming changes for this guidance

This content will be strengthened so it more completely reflects our commitment to practice framed by te Tiriti o Waitangi, based on a mana-enhancing paradigm for practice, and drawing from ​Te Ao Māori principles of oranga to support mana tamaiti, whakapapa and whanaungatanga. We each need to consider how we can apply these principles to our practice when reading this guidance. The following resources provide support:
Practice for working effectively with Māori
Our practice approach

What's involved in the assessment and approval process

We assess:

  • people wanting to become caregivers or adoptive parents
  • people connected to the potential caregiver or their household.

We have 90 days to complete the assessment process after applicants agree to go forward with a full assessment.

Policy: Caregiver and adoptive applicant assessment and approval

1 Expressing an interest in caregiving or adoption

When people express an interest in caregiving or adoption ensure the contact centre or a site staff member:

  • completes the expression of interest form and files it with an Oranga Tamariki site
  • sends or gives them the Ways You Can Care brochure.

The Ways You Can Care brochure has details about the group information session where applicants can learn more about becoming a caregiver or adoptive parent.

Becoming a caregiver — enquiry form

Ways You Can Care brochure (PDF 2.7 MB)

2 Attending an information session

People who are interested in becoming a caregiver can go to a group Exploring Care information session to find out what’s involved.

The presentation will cover information about the tamariki needing care, the role of a caregiver and the application process.

At the end of the session people get an application pack, which they can fill in before they leave or take away with them.

Preparing to be a caregiver or adoptive parent

Types of care

Policy: Caregiver support

3 Applying to be a caregiver or adoptive parent

People who are interested must fill in an application form and complete other forms, such as a medical report and police vetting forms.

Everyone in a household and any regular visitors aged 18 or over must consent to being police vetted.

We must also verify their identities.

Applying to be a caregiver or adoptive parent

Completing police vetting

4 Preparing to be a caregiver or adoptive parent

Applicants must attend the Ways to Care preparation programme, which is held over 2 non-consecutive days. 

They must also attend a Safe Caring session, which is a 1 day course that looks at the roles, rights and responsibilities of caregivers. It teaches applicants how they can provide safe care to te tamaiti.

Preparing to be a caregiver or adoptive parent

Policy: Caregiver support

5 Completing the self-assessment

All applicants must complete a self-assessment, which helps them to identify their strengths, needs and expectations as caregivers.

We should check if they need any help filling in their self-assessment, for example they may need an interpreter.

The self-assessment has two sections that must be completed. We should give them a copy of the caregiver kete that’s needed to complete section 2.

Self-assessment for caregivers form (DOCX 63 KB)

Caregiver kete (PDF 1.8 MB) | orangatamariki.govt.nz

6 Analysing the assessment information

Use the caregiver assessment framework to assess applicants against 6 core attributes:

  • Safety.
  • Attachment.
  • Resilience.
  • Identity.
  • Integrity.
  • Support.

Also consider the attributes needed for different types of care.

Caregiver and adoption assessment framework

We must analyse assessment checks, which includes looking at police, medical and referee checks.

We should consider how this information relates to the core needs of te tamaiti.

Assessing information from suitability checks

We should also consider the home environment so te tamaiti can live in a safe place.

Assessing the home environment of applicants

The assigned social worker will contact the applicants to let them know if there will be a delay in starting their assessment. The reasons for a delay will be recorded on CYRAS as a case note.

7 Assessment interviews and hui

Meet with applicants as many times as needed to complete a thorough assessment. 

An alternative to assessment interviews is an assessment hui, which brings together whānau or family to discuss care.

We must meet with:

  • the applicants
  • other children in the home
  • extended whānau or family and visitors.
  • te tamaiti requiring a placement and their parents — where appropriate and practicable
  • the social worker for te tamaiti
  • the caregiver social worker.

If we have permission and consent from applicants we could also talk to:

  • wider contacts, such as social or ethnic community members
  • other professionals, such as counsellors or medical specialists.

Assessment interviews and hui

8 Developing a support plan

An important part of the assessment process is to develop a support plan for applicants. We identify what will help them support and care for te tamaiti.

We should discuss their:

  • material needs, such as bedding or baby equipment
  • educational needs, such as help getting to school or tutoring
  • recreational and social activities support
  • special or complex needs
  • health needs
  • care needs, such as respite or before or after school care
  • knowledge and development opportunities.

Caregiver support plan

9 Writing the assessment report

Bring together all the information you’ve gathered and complete an in-depth assessment report. The assessment report template is on CYRAS.

We should analyse:

  • assessment checks, such as police and medical reports
  • interviews or hui
  • self-assessments
  • feedback from attendance at courses
  • your own observations, research and discussions.

At the end of the report give your recommendation to accept or decline the application.

Writing the assessment report

10 Letting applicants know if they've been approved

We should let applicants know if they've been approved or not once we've made our recommendation. If we've declined them and they think assessment information was incorrect, they have 10 days to dispute it.