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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/care/caregivers/support-for-caregivers/allowances-to-support-tamariki-and-rangatahi-in-care-or-custody-and-their-caregivers/
Printed: 31/10/2020
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Last updated: 27/10/2020

Allowances to support tamariki and rangatahi in care or custody and their caregivers

These allowances and entitlements support tamariki and rangatahi in care or custody and their caregivers where applicable.

Updates made to guidance

This page was previously called ‘Caregiver allowances’. It has been updated to strengthen the focus on tamariki and rangatahi as well as caregivers, and to provide more guidance about pocket money and the clothing allowance.

Financial support entitlements

The caregiver support policy outlines which allowances caregivers are entitled to and when.

Policy: Caregiver support — financial support

Guidance about specific allowances

Caregiver allowance

The caregiver allowance is paid to Oranga Tamariki caregivers of tamariki in the care or custody of the chief executive, including whānau caregivers. It contributes to the cost of:

  • food
  • general household items
  • heating and power
  • transport costs
  • phone costs
  • bedroom furnishings and linen 
  • general household goods
  • miscellaneous expenditure such as haircuts, personal hygiene items and toiletries
  • pocket money for tamariki and rangatahi.

Pocket money

The National Care Standards regulation 34 requires that support is provided to address the play, recreational and community needs of te tamaiti or rangatahi who are in care or custody of the chief executive of Oranga Tamariki or with other section 396 providers. This support includes the arrangement for the payment of pocket money to tamariki or rangatahi at a level appropriate to their age and circumstances.

All tamariki and rangatahi in care or custody of the chief executive of Oranga Tamariki are entitled to pocket money, including those:

  • placed with an Oranga Tamariki or whānau care caregiver
  • placed in residential settings, including remand homes and group homes
  • with custody orders who remain or return home
  • placed with other section 396 service providers
  • placed with iwi providers.

The amount of pocket money is calculated based on the age of te tamaiti or rangatahi. The age rates have been set by the organisation but individual circumstances may affect how the pocket money is paid.

Pocket money rates

Age of te tamaiti or rangatahi Weekly pocket money
0 to 4 years $2.10
5 to 9 years $6.80
10 to 13 years $10.30
14+ years $15.90

Learning to make financial decisions is an important step in tamariki and rangatahi becoming financially literate and exercising rangatiratanga. It is important that, wherever possible, tamariki and rangatahi are supported to make the decision about how they receive their pocket money and their views are taken into account about whether they are paid pocket money directly or it is paid into their bank account.

Where te tamaiti or rangatahi are in the care of an Oranga Tamariki or whānau caregiver, their pocket money is paid to the caregiver as part of their caregiver allowance. The full amount of pocket money is paid by the caregiver to te tamaiti or rangatahi in a way that enables them to access it. The caregiver social worker will need to discuss a suitable arrangement for the payment of pocket money with the caregiver where tamariki are very young or where a disability inhibits their ability to understand and participate in the decision.

Where tamariki or rangatahi are in a care and protection residence, their social worker will need to discuss with them and the residence staff how they will receive their pocket money.

Where tamariki are in youth justice residential care or custody (including rangatahi on remand to residence), a suitable arrangement will need to be made by the youth justice social worker for the payment of pocket money to te tamaiti or rangatahi. Optimally payments can be made to their bank account. Speak to the case leader for support to set up a bank account where required. The youth justice social worker can arrange for payments to be made to the bank account of rangatahi by one of the following methods:

  • creating a placement record in CYRAS where the placement type is 'regular payment' so rangatahi is set up as a vendor and the pocket money goes directly to their bank account, or
  • through direct payments using KEA or NAC through the social worker's site.

Pocket money is not available for those rangatahi aged 18 years and older who have remained living with or returned to live with a caregiver. However, there are other entitlements they may be eligible for as they transition to becoming an adult.

Kaimahi and caregivers cannot tell te tamaiti or rangatahi how to spend their pocket money. However, there may be opportunities to have conversations about things like saving for something te tamaiti really wants, keeping banking details secure, spending and using money wisely and safely, paying reparation and other things that help te tamaiti or rangatahi to understand about managing money. Decisions about money ultimately rest with te tamaiti or rangatahi, and pocket money will give them opportunities to practise valuable skills that they will need as an adult. For this reason, rangatahi living independently or at boarding school might have their pocket money paid directly in to their own bank account.

Support for play, recreational and community activities

Names, relationships, finances, wills and passports

Transition to adulthood

Transition to adulthood – eligibility tree (interactive) (PDF 1.4 MB)

Rangatahi resource: pocket money and allowances (poster) (PDF 196 KB)

Standard small cost payment

A standard payment of $20.00 per fortnight is payable to caregivers at the same time as the fortnightly board allowance to enable the caregiver to pay for additional small items te tamaiti or rangatahi needs.

Small cost items could include:

  • a prescription charge
  • additional school stationery
  • a school outing
  • a birthday present for the child’s friend
  • something special to celebrate a child’s particular achievement
  • a regular cellphone top up
  • a hobby
  • a gold coin donation/koha.

If ongoing costs are using a significant portion of the $20.00 small cost payment, consideration must be given to reimbursement of those costs.

Larger costs items such as school donations and fees, holiday programmes, term fees for extra-curricular activities, will continue to be discussed as part of the financial planning for the child or young person in care. These payments must be approved by the budget manager and may be paid directly to the supplier.

Clothing allowance

Not only is clothing is a human right, but research has shown that it is also "important for physical and mental wellness; it helps with identity construction; it helps children and young people feel connected to their peers; and it can help them feel safe". Tamariki and rangatahi may have strong views about the clothes they wear. We need to understand and respect the personal choices of te tamaiti and rangatahi regarding their identity and culture, including their appearance and the colours they wear (to the extent that freedom of choice is consistent with the best interests of te tamaiti or rangatahi).

All tamariki and rangatahi who are in a care arrangement that is intended to be ongoing are entitled to a 4-weekly clothing allowance. However, how this is paid or made available to them may be different depending on the care arrangement type.

It important that tamariki and rangatahi are supported to express their views and be part of the decision-making about clothing that is purchased for them. Talk with tamariki about what they need and what is important to them in their clothing choices.

Where te tamaiti or rangatahi is in the custody of the chief executive and in the care of an Oranga Tamariki or whānau caregiver, the clothing allowance is paid to the caregiver in advance on every alternate fortnightly board run.

Tamariki or rangatahi in care and protection residential settings are provided with a monthly clothing allowance.

Where rangatahi are in a youth justice residential setting, clothing will be purchased as required following conversations between the social worker and the case leader or key residential worker with rangatahi.

The clothing allowance covers:

  • a reasonable range of appropriate clothing
  • a travel bag
  • replacement of school uniform items.

Oranga Tamariki pays for school uniforms when tamariki in the custody of the chief executive start at school and require a uniform, or changes uniform within a school, eg between junior and senior school. This is in addition to the clothing allowance.

Replacement of uniform items is expected to come from the clothing allowance, where this is being paid, or otherwise as an additional payment.

Oranga Tamariki will, from time to time, make other payments to meet the reasonable clothing needs of a child or young person in the care or custody of the chief executive.

Tamariki who are subject to a temporary care agreement under section 139 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 are not included in the four-weekly batch run. The decision to purchase clothing remains at the discretion of the site manager.

Rangatahi resource: pocket money and allowances (poster) (PDF 196 KB)

Policy: Participation of tamariki – providing information, ensuring understanding and incorporating their views