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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/care/caregivers/support-for-caregivers/how-to-access-caregiver-support-and-development/
Printed: 18/07/2024
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Last updated: 05/12/2019

How to access caregiver support and development

Caregivers can access support and development so they're better able to provide safe and loving homes. We help to identify the caregiver support available so caregivers can better meet the needs of tamariki.

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

Identifying when caregiver development or support is required

The National Care Standards set out the information to be provided to the caregiver, including information:

  • to assist them to understand their role and responsibilities
  • about te tamaiti or rangatahi, as identified within the All About Me plan
  • about the support available to assist them to provide care.

Caregiver support begins during the caregiver assessment phase and should be identified and discussed with the caregiver throughout this process. The process continues throughout the life of the caregiver journey.

Recommendations from the assessment form the basis of ongoing development and support for a caregiver. This informs the development of the caregiver support plan. This is extended when tamariki are placed, and specific support needs are identified.

The purpose of the caregiver support plan is to develop and grow a caregiver’s capability to meet the needs of tamariki and provide safe, loving care. All required support and development should be identified on the caregiver support plan. The plan will include both general support and support specific to meet the identified needs of the tamaiti in their care. Caregivers are our partners in the caregiving journey and we must work together to ensure placement stability.

Caregiver support plan

Caregiver support plan template (DOCX 90 KB)

What support and development is available

Consider what support and development is available within your local area. This could include both formal and informal situations. A good starting point is to review the caregiver support services catalogue and the family services directory.

Staff resource: Caregiver support services catalogue

Family services directory

All caregivers will be supported, through general training, around their role. There will also be specialised development and training available.

If the required support or training is not available locally, either due to limited accessibility or restricted availability, then consider alternative means of providing this support.

This may include:

  • accessing it through a different medium, such as online training
  • paying travel costs to enable the caregiver to attend a non-local service provider
  • identifying alternative funding options.

While the caregiver support services catalogue mainly focuses on Oranga Tamariki funded support, the family services directory identifies a number of service providers that provide support and services free of charge.

You’re encouraged to connect with the Caregiver Social Workers in other areas, as they will have a good knowledge of the local support and training networks within their communities. Your CGRS Managers will provide a good regional view of the support available.

You will find it helpful to develop a good working relationship with your local Partnering for Outcomes Regional Manager (PfO RM). They will be able to provide up-to-date and detailed information on caregiver training, support and other contracted services in your local area.

Using the national caregiver support services catalogue is encouraged because it will be updated to include new additional support that will be coming onboard from 2020 onwards. If the local site support information is not included on this catalogue, or it’s incorrect, please provide updates to your local Care Support Coordinator or to the PfO Regional Manager.

How a caregiver (or caregiving family) can access support and development

Caregiver support requirements are recorded in the caregiver support plan and the All About Me Plan.

Caregiver support plan

Policy: All About Me plan

A client financial plan identifies the goods and services that will need to be purchased, over the identified visitation period, in order to support te tamaiti and the associated support required for the caregiver. Caregiver support is then accessed in 2 key ways.

Staff resource: Client financial plans

1 Facilitating direct caregiver access to support

Share the service provider information directly with the caregiver and get them to book the most suitable time or purchase the most suitable product (within reason).

For caregiver services, such as counselling, this will often be enabled through the provision of a purchase order (to the caregiver) and a referral request. It may be as simple as directing them to the contracted provider, for example the Caring Families Aotearoa website or Oranga Tamariki online training.

Alternatively, it may involve printing off a list of relevant local service providers from the Family Services Directory and handing it to the caregiver.

2 You organise on behalf of the caregiver (often for site or national funded services/support)

There will be support and development that you organise directly on behalf of the caregiver, such as trauma/specialist training/support or paying school fees.

This is often facilitated by direct payment to the vendor or by having a discussion with your local PfO Regional Manager about the number of training spaces left on the contract. It’s recommended that caregivers are given a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice prior to the start of the support or training and that this date is agreed by the caregiver.

How you can support the caregiver to attend developmental courses

Sometimes caregivers may be unable to attend training. This can be for a number of reasons, such as:

  • the caregivers’ geographic location
  • work commitments
  • they already know the child well and may not appreciate the need for further development and support – particularly in the case of whānau caregivers
  • they may have a preference for support and development that is aligned with their cultural world view.

Supporting the caregiver to attend developmental courses may include:

  • ensuring that caregivers have a good understanding of why ongoing support and development is important, not only for their own benefit, but for the wellbeing and safety of tamariki in their care, and their own whānau/family
  • ensuring caregivers understand their entitlements to access financial and practical assistance to attend
  • providing as much advance notice as possible of when the training will be held
  • promoting opportunities that are strongly aligned and/or promoting whakapapa and whanaungatanga.

A proactive approach should be taken when considering how to support caregiver attendance. It’s encouraged that all reasonable childcare costs and travel be reimbursed, subject to CGRS Manager or Site Manager approval.

The work and home routines of the caregiver (and caregiving family) should be taken into consideration when planning and selecting support and development services.

Alternative options to meet the caregivers’ needs

If development opportunities are not available locally, consider what may be available on a regional and national level.

If the development need is specialised and there are enough caregivers identified requiring the same level of development, then discuss with the CGRS Manager as to whether it feasible to either support the caregivers to attend in the location where the training is held, or ask the provider if they are willing to travel to deliver the training where the caregivers reside. Consider any online resources available.

If no training is available at all then consider utilising internal resources within Oranga Tamariki or external community groups.

Internal support examples include:

  • psychologist support through specialist services, such as trauma, child development, and behaviour management strategies
  • regional disability advisors – can be contacted to provide advice in relation to a variety of issues related to caring for a child or young person with mental health and/or disability related needs, including understanding what is available and how to access the support
  • legal services, such as obtaining permanency orders through CoCA, and understanding the legal obligations of caregivers
  • providers who can support caregivers understand how best to support tamariki Māori in ways that are informed by the principles of whakapapa, whanaungatanga and mana tamaiti
  • providers who can support caregivers understand how to meet the needs of Pacific children and those from other cultural groups
  • internal social work staff, who come from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, such as Asian, African and Middle Eastern communities can share knowledge regarding language, values and customs, and family structure.

Accessing our internal support people, who have readily available knowledge and skills, can help you to formulate a training plan, presentation or bite sized information, for use in a range of settings, for example formal coffee or peer support groups that can be adapted to suit the caregiving audience.

Caregiver peer support

The caregiver support policy notes that the caregiver support plan must identify any support or training that's required by the caregiver.

Policy: Caregiver support

In situations where support or development has been identified as being required, yet it can’t be accessed or it's unavailable then alternative solutions will be identified within the caregiver support plan.

When the caregiver support plan is filled-out within the caregiver information system it will be straightforward to identify the difference between the support required and the support provided within certain categories. This information will be helpful to understand the support and development gaps in order to improve the service.

The CGRS Managers will be responsible for collating this information, on a regular occurrence, on behalf of their respective sites. This would occur as a part of general caregiver support plan monitoring for consistency.