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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/care/transitioning-between-placements-or-out-of-care/support-for-permanent-caregivers/
Printed: 14/06/2024
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Last updated: 17/02/2021

Support for permanent caregivers

The permanent caregiver support package provides permanent caregivers and tamariki with support after their care becomes permanent and custody orders in favour of the chief executive are discharged. We help plan the supports for permanent caregivers.

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

Guidance replaces Noho ake Oranga supporting information

This guidance replaces the information that supported the policy ‘Noho ake Oranga – permanency and enhancing wellbeing for tamariki in care'.

Who can receive the permanent caregiver support package

The permanent caregiver support package is available to:

The permanent caregiver support package consists of:

  • funding for independent legal costs, as agreed with the site manager, to cover initial legal advice and reasonable costs of the application process
  • payment of $2500 as a contribution to meet the individual needs of each tamaiti
  • additional financial assistance for items needed to care for a pēpi
  • assistance to access services and supports from government agencies and community services
  • an initial permanent care support plan for up to 12 months – this plan will be reviewed at least annually by the Permanent Caregiver Support Service (PCSS) and updated and renewed as appropriate
  • a referral to PCSS which will administer, monitor and review the permanent care support plan – the ability to make requests for and have access to financial and other assistance from PCSS exists until te tamaiti reaches 18 years
  • support to access entitlements from Work and Income or Inland Revenue
  • access to the learning, support and advice.

Permanent Caregiver Support Service

Permanent caregiver support package

Provision of financial assistance to seek legal orders

We encourage caregivers to obtain independent legal advice before seeking a legal order to support permanent care. We will fund two hours of the lawyer’s time at a reasonable rate for this purpose.

Letter to caregivers seeking legal orders for permanent care – template (DOCX 136 KB)

If the caregiver decides to proceed with seeking orders, and we agree the proposed application is in the best interests of the child, we will pay reasonable legal costs, usually no more than a further 10 hours, depending on the complexity of the case. Oranga Tamariki will also pay a reasonable amount to meet additional office costs such as postage and photocopying. In considering what is in the best interests of te tamaiti we will also consider what guardianship and contact arrangements are proposed.

Letter to caregivers when we support their application for permanent care – template (DOCX 132 KB)

Letter to caregivers when we don't support their application for permanent care – template (DOCX 135 KB)

The solicitor responsible for your site can provide more information about the rates and total amount that can be paid towards legal costs.

If the case becomes complex, we:

  • ask the caregiver’s solicitor for an estimate and seek advice on this estimate from the site solicitor
  • ask the site manager to approve the additional funding
  • advise the caregiver of the site manager’s decision and discuss any issues arising.

For permanent caregivers defending any subsequent proceedings brought by parents, or seeking variations to their legal orders, funding is provided at the discretion of the site manager and approval should be sought first.

If the application is not in the best interests of te tamaiti, then this will not be supported.

$2500 payment from Oranga Tamariki

A one-off grant of $2500 is paid to permanent caregivers to contribute to meeting the individual needs of each tamaiti they provide permanent care for.

The payment recognises that there may be increased costs arising from additional tamariki in the home but is not calculated to reflect or replace any financial assistance that would otherwise have been provided by Oranga Tamariki. 

The payment is processed when legal orders for permanent care have been made in favour of the permanent caregivers, or when a permanent care arrangement has been secured with whānau caregivers without legal orders.

Financial assistance from Oranga Tamariki for additional costs to care for a pēpi

We offer financial assistance to permanent caregivers caring for a pēpi who is under 2 years of age to purchase items such as a highchair, cot or clothing. This assistance can be provided as soon as these caregivers start caring for pēpi. 

Services and supports from government agencies and community organisations

We support permanent caregivers with advice about government and community supports and services that may meet their needs, or those of te tamaiti.  We support the caregiver to access these services. For example, we may refer to, and follow up with, specialist health and education services and community providers of family support.

Permanent care support plan for the first 12 months (reviewable after this period) and a referral to Permanent Caregiver Support Service

We lead a collaborative process to create and confirm a permanent care support plan that outlines the support and services the caregiver and te tamaiti will require in the first 12 months. This happens after the permanent care proposal has been approved, but before the applications have been dealt with by the Family Court.

We refer the permanent caregiver to the PCSS, which will manage and annually review the support plan.  The PCSS will update and extend the plan as required in response to requests from the caregiver until te tamaiti reaches 18 years where these are in line with the legislative criteria.

Development of the permanent care support plan

Permanent Caregiver Support Service

Entitlements from Work and Income or Inland Revenue

We help permanent caregivers access the financial assistance they are entitled to through Work and Income or Inland Revenue, such as:

  • Unsupported Child's Benefit (Work and Income)
  • Child Disability Allowance (Work and Income)
  • Child Care Subsidy (Work and Income)
  • Child Support (Inland Revenue).

The caregiver may need to provide the following information:

  • the birth certificate for te tamaiti
  • their passport or birth certificate, IRD number and a full bank statement
  • a copy of the relevant court orders
  • details of any income te tamaiti receives.

Access to learning, support and advice

We must tell permanent caregivers about the learning, advice, support and advocacy available to them through organisations like:  

Development of the permanent care support plan

The development of a permanent care support plan is a collaborative process which needs to include all parties and PCSS early on. PCSS have the delegated authority from the chief executive to implement the plan.

As part of the planning process we:

  • review the All About Me Plan, identifying which needs require ongoing support, who is providing this support and what the costs are
  • advise all participants about the role and function of PCSS and refer the caregiver to this service
    Permanent caregiver support service referral form (DOCX 157 KB)
  • work with te tamaiti, the caregiver, family, whānau, hapū, iwi, family group and other relevant people (such as the lawyer for te tamaiti), to identify:
    • what support te tamaiti and the caregiver need, and who they prefer to provide this support
    • the supports and services available from other government or community agencies and how they can access these, including what we or PCSS can do to assist with access to these
    • what supports (financial or other) are needed to strengthen the whānau, whakapapa and genealogical connections of te tamaiti including relationships with siblings
    • what supports (financial or other) are needed to strengthen mana tamaiti including values, cultural beliefs and practices, identity, and links to significant places such as marae
  • discuss with PCSS how the support needs that have been identified can be met.

We record on the permanent care support plan template:

  • the needs of te tamaiti and the caregiver
  • a description of the support or service required to meet this need
  • the provider details
  • how much it will cost (if there is a cost), and
  • services and supports where there is no cost – for example, from a community agency or from informal sources if the people providing these services agree to their inclusion.

A permanent care support plan only specifies support for identified needs within the timeframe of the plan. It will not include contingency arrangements because permanent caregivers can seek support from PCSS when a future need arises.

Agreeing and approving the plan

Once all participants have agreed to the permanent care support plan, the plan is approved by the site manager and the manager of PCSS:

  • The site manager needs to sign off any aspects of the plan Oranga Tamariki will be responsible for resourcing, such as supports that do not meet section 388A criteria.
  • The PCSS manager needs to approve the content of the plan and associated costs that PCSS will be responsible for administering and resourcing.

The permanent care support plan should be developed, agreed and approved ahead of the Family Court hearing. 

If a permanent care support plan is not approved by Permanent Caregiver Support Service

If the PCSS manager will not approve the plan, we:

  • talk with the PCSS caseworker about how we can resolve the concerns/issues and, if necessary, reconvene a planning meeting with te tamaiti, the caregiver and other relevant people such as members of the family, whānau, hapū, iwi and family group, to reconsider the plan content – we should include PCSS in this process
  • ask our supervisor to lead a case consult to discuss the aspects of the plan which are not agreed, or
  • escalate the matter to our site manager to discuss the concerns/issues of the plan directly with the PCSS manager.

We discuss any changes to the original plan arising from this approval process with the caregiver and anyone else who helped formulate that plan.

The Oranga Tamariki social worker will ensure all services and supports required in the plan are provided and resourced as appropriate. This may include circumstances where support has already started but won’t be completed until after discharge of the chief executive’s custody order (for example, final therapy sessions).

Keeping the Permanent Caregiver Support Service informed of changes

Before the living arrangement becomes permanent, we tell PCSS if:

  • the court proceedings are delayed, and/or
  • we need, in conjunction with te tamaiti, the caregiver and other participants in the planning, to amend the support plan before the court process. Any amendments will need the agreement of all parties.

Hand over to the Permanent Caregiver Support Service

  • When the chief executive’s orders have been discharged, we send a copy of the permanent care support plan to PCSS.
  • PCSS sends an acknowledgement letter to the permanent caregiver, engages with them and begins to administer the permanent care support plan.

Permanent Caregiver Support Service

PCSS is provided by Turuki Health Care, and it:

  • decides whether the request for financial and other assistance outlined in the plan meets the legislative criteria (section 388A of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989) and will be resourced
  • purchases the support and services identified in the plan once the living arrangement becomes permanent
  • takes over payment of approved supports and services which have already started
  • monitors the plan, implements and coordinates the support, and works with the caregiver to address any issues arising from the support or service provided/approved
  • reviews the plan to determine if additional support is required
  • liaises with the Oranga Tamariki site if the caregiver requests funding for legal advice or if the review of the plan determines that support being resourced by Oranga Tamariki in the initial plan may need to be extended
  • responds when a permanent caregiver asks for help if a new need arises after the initial 12-month period ends.

PCSS is available to permanent caregivers until te tamaiti is 18 years old. PCSS decides what support can be provided based on the legislative criteria.

Permanent Caregiver Support Service – Turuki Healthcare

Permanent Caregiver Support Service

Complaints about decisions made by the Permanent Caregiver Support Service

The Permanent Caregiver Support Service has an internal complaints process which permanent caregivers can utilise to raise concerns about a decision the Service has taken. In addition, caregivers who meet the legislative definition of a permanent caregiver can request a review of the decision by Oranga Tamariki. If they are not satisfied with the outcome of the review of the decision, they can appeal this decision in the Family Court.