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Printed: 21/05/2022
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Last updated: 08/12/2020

Applications for the Unsupported Child's Benefit and Child Support

We can help people caring for tamariki or rangatahi who are not in the custody of the Oranga Tamariki chief executive to apply for financial support through the Unsupported Child’s Benefit and Child Support.

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 shift

Unsupported Child’s Benefit

Administered by Work and Income, the Unsupported Child’s Benefit is a weekly payment for family/whānau or non-whānau caregivers caring for tamariki or rangatahi who are not in the custody of the Oranga Tamariki chief executive and who are:

  • 18 years or younger
  • financially dependent on their caregivers
  • not cared for by their parents.

The person applying for the benefit must:

  • be 18 years or older and the main carer of te tamaiti or rangatahi
  • expect te tamaiti or rangatahi to live with them for 12 months or more
  • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • not be the natural or adoptive parent or step-parent of te tamaiti or rangatahi.

If the decision for tamariki to live away from their usual parent or caregiver is an outcome of a family group conference (FGC) or family/whānau agreement, we encourage family/whānau and non-whānau caregivers to talk directly with Work and Income about their entitlements. If the plan is shorter than 12 months then the FGC plan or family/whānau agreement needs to include who and how financial costs will be covered.

When te tamaiti is transitioning out of our custody into the custody of family/whānau, then the family, whānau or caregivers can apply for the Unsupported Child's Benefit up to 20 days before the custody order to the chief executive is discharged.

The Unsupported Child's Benefit is not means tested.

Unsupported Child’s Benefit – Work and Income Te Hiranga Tangata

Care and protection family group conference

Policy: Ensuring a safe, stable and loving home for tamariki in care

Child Support

Child Support is administered through Inland Revenue who collect money from parents not living with their tamariki to help financially support them. This money is then passed on to the person caring for te tamaiti. The Inland Revenue's website details the eligibility criteria for qualifying for Child Support but generally te tamaiti or rangatahi has to be under 19 years of age, not married or in a de-facto relationship, and financially dependent.

As this will affect the parents’ income, we make sure that this has been discussed with the parents early in the process – a whānau permanent caregiver could discuss this at a whānau or family hui.

Some people caring for tamariki or rangatahi not in our care may want to claim only Child Support and not the Unsupported Child’s Benefit, especially if the parent of te tamaiti or rangatahi is working.

Oranga Tamariki as a rule applies for Child Support though Inland Revenue for all tamariki in our custody.

Child Support – Inland Revenue

Supplementary assistance available

Other assistance may also be available, for example a Child Disability Allowance and Childcare Subsidy.

Work and Income Te Hiranga Tangata website:

If the adult caring for te tamaiti is working, they may also qualify for Inland Revenue’s Working for Families – In-work tax credit.

Inland Revenue website: