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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/care/caregivers/assessing-and-approving-caregivers-and-adoptive-parents/types-of-care/
Printed: 18/07/2024
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Last updated: 01/04/2019

Types of care

Caregivers and adoptive applicants can be assessed and approved to provide different types of care.

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 are the types of care

Caregiver and adoptive parent applicants can be assessed to provide 1 or more types of care. Family/whānau caregivers can only be approved for respite care, short-term care (was known as transitional care) or permanent care.

Respite care

Short periods of care to support the usual caregiver of te tamaiti.

Short-term care (was known as transitional care)

Short to medium term care until te tamaiti:

  • returns to their whānau or family or usual caregiver
  • is placed with a permanent caregiver, or
  • is living independently.

Permanent care/home for life

Home for life is a permanent care arrangement for te tamaiti that is secured by legal orders. Permanent caregivers may be joint guardians (additional) with the birth parents.

A small number of whānau or family caregivers may decide to care permanently for a tamaiti without a legal order.

Family home care 

Care in a family setting in an Oranga Tamariki managed property. Often for unrelated tamariki until longer term placements become available.

Domestic adoption

Applicants become legal parents and guardians of te tamaiti when adoption happens through the New Zealand Family Court and an adoption order is issued.

For tamariki born in New Zealand, the birth parents choose approved adoptive parents to become the legal parents for their tamaiti.

Creating families through adoption — key information

Adoption Act 1995

Intercountry adoption

Applicants become legal parents and guardians of te tamaiti.

The other country involved in the intercountry adoption must be a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.

New Zealand has intercountry adoption programmes with 5 countries through the Hague Convention when people want to adopt tamariki who aren't relatives: 

  • Chile.
  • India.
  • Lithuania.
  • Philippines.
  • Thailand.

Chile intercountry adoption factsheet (PDF 179 KB)

India intercountry adoption factsheet (PDF 211 KB)

Lithuania intercountry adoption factsheet (PDF 94 KB)

Philippines intercountry adoption factsheet (PDF 275 KB)

Thailand intercountry adoption factsheet (PDF 115 KB)

Intercountry adoption applications for tamariki who are relatives can be considered and progressed for any country that's a member of the Hague Convention.

Hague Conference members

The Central Authority in each country must consider the intercountry adoption application. Oranga Tamariki is the Central Authority in New Zealand.

An Article 23 Certificate of Conformity of Intercountry Adoption is issued as evidence of the adoption. The certificate has the same effect as an adoption order.

Intercountry adoption

New Zealand Central Authority and accredited adoption agencies under the Hague Convention

Adoption (Intercountry) Act 1997

If people want to adopt a tamaiti from a country that's not a member of the Hague Convention

Intercountry adoptions of tamariki known to applicants can be completed under the Adoption Act 1955 if the other country involved is not a member of the Hague Convention.

Intercountry adoption applications to the Family Court

Section 3 of the Adoption Act 1995