Caregiver support and review — Policy

Updated: 01 April 2018

What's Important To Us

Caregivers provide a valuable role in ensuring our most vulnerable children and young people are well cared for and safe. They are an integral member of the team of people providing care to the child or young person. It is important that we trust our caregivers and they feel valued and supported so that they can provide the best possible care for our children and young people; satisfaction with their role is central to retaining caregivers and to achieving stable placements. To show caregivers they're valued, it is important that we are supportive, inclusive, communicative and respectful. According to research, the single most important form of caregiver support is that provided by the social worker.

Oranga Tamariki must be assured that our caregivers have the continued ability to provide safe and appropriate care for our most vulnerable and at-risk children and young people.

This policy applies to approved family/whānau and non-family/whānau caregivers who are caring for children and young people in the custody of the chief executive.

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Informing caregivers of their roles and responsibilities

Caregivers must be informed of their roles and responsibilities, and the nature of the support and entitlements they will receive from Oranga Tamariki prior to approval.

Upon approval caregivers must be given a copy of the Foster Care Handbook and the foster care journal.

Becoming a caregiver (Foster Care Handbook)

Financial support

It is expected that at the time of placement and at regular intervals thereafter the care needs of the child or young person and how these needs are going to be supported financially, will be discussed with the caregiver.

All approved caregivers must be given foster care allowance payments at the rate set by the chief executive. They must not be paid at a lesser rate.

All approved Oranga Tamariki caregivers must receive the standard payment of $20.00 per fortnight per child or young person to enable them to cover small cost items for the child or young person in their care. A small cost item may include prescription charges, additional school stationery, a school outing, a birthday present for a friend, something special to celebrate a particular achievement, a regular cellphone top up, a hobby, a gold coin donation/koha, etc.

All children and young people in the custody of the chief executive must have their reasonable clothing needs met, including the provision of school uniforms.

All children are young people who are in a placement that is intended to be ongoing are entitled to receive a four-weekly clothing allowance payment, payable to the caregiver.

Pocket money is a portion of the board payment and must be paid to all children and young people in the custody of the chief executive.

The caregiver is to be paid an allowance to use for birthday and Christmas celebrations/presents for the child or young person. Each allowance is at half the rate of the board payment.

Health, education and recreation costs incurred on behalf of the child or young person will be reimbursed. These costs must be preapproved by the site manager.

What foster care and clothing allowances cover (DOCX 26 KB)

Financial help (current foster care allowance rates)

Social Worker visits

Visits by the social worker for the caregiver

Every caregiver will have a caregiver social worker allocated to them to provide practical and emotional support. It is the caregiver social worker's responsibility to visit the caregiver once a week for the first four weeks of a placement, and then to visit at a minimum of every eight weeks thereafter.

Visits by the social worker for the mokopuna in their care

The social worker for the mokopuna will visit at least every eight weeks, irrespective of whether this coincides with a visit to the mokopuna.

Contact with the caregiver will focus on discussing:

  • the progress of the plan for the mokopuna
  • the caregiver’s responsibilities under that plan
  • matters relating to the provision of care to the mokopuna
  • routine matters - board payments, clothing issues, contact with family/whānau and any other needs are being addressed.

What I can expect when I'm in care (Children's Charter)

All caregivers are to be given a copy of 'What I can expect when I'm in care (Children's Charter)' for mokopuna in care.

They must be given the opportunity to discuss this with a social worker and be informed of the complaints process.

Caregiver claims for deliberate damage

Caregivers whose property is damaged by children or young people in their care may be compensated for the cost of the damage if the damage is of a type which could not have been insured against (i.e. intentional damage other than that caused by fire or explosion).

Caregivers are advised to take out their own insurance for insurable items. In the event of damage the deliberate claims process is to be followed.

Claim form for deliberate damage (DOC 457 KB)

Payment of support organisation fees

When a newly approved caregiver joins a recognised caregiver support organisation, their first two years of fees will be paid for by Oranga Tamariki National Office. The caregiver is responsible for payment of fees after the first two years.

Caregiver support during investigations of allegations

Caregivers are to be supported by their caregiver social worker while they are the subject of any allegation of abuse of a mokopuna in their care.

They must be advised of the support programme offered by Fostering Kids and be given a copy of their booklet.

The need for support by a person of the same culture must be considered and enacted if possible. A translator must be provided if required.

Allegations against caregivers — Policy

Training/professional development

All Oranga Tamariki caregivers must:

  • attend the Ways to Care preparation programme. Family/whānau caregivers may have this learning delivered to them outside of the workshops through alternative means if necessary.
  • have a personal learning and development plan that is regularly reviewed by the caregiver social worker
  • encouraged and given the opportunity to participate in a variety of learning/training events including those delivered through the National Caregiver Training Programme.

Permanent care

Oranga Tamariki will pay the agreed reasonable legal fees incurred by caregivers who are:

  • seeking orders in their favour to support a permanent living arrangement for mokopuna in their care.
  • seeking orders post permanency to address guardianship or contact matters
  • defending applications by parents or other family/whānau to vary the orders in favour of caregivers.

All approved permanent caregivers will have access to a package of support that will extend beyond the discharge of orders against the chief executive.

The permanent caregiver support package includes an individualised, needs based support plan for mokopuna and caregivers which will be agreed to before orders against the chief executive are discharged.

Support and assistance for permanent caregivers

Use of legal orders to secure a permanent living arrangement

Planning living arrangements for mokopuna with permanent caregivers

Review of approval status and support needs

All caregivers must have a review of their approval status and support needs undertaken within the first six months of being approved and annually thereafter.

The review is carried out by the caregiver social worker in partnership with the caregiver as outlined in The review meeting - A time for reflection and forward planning.

This review must include:

  • a face-to-face meeting with the caregiver at their home. This will involve an updated assessment of the caregiver’s current situation and discussion/analysis of their continued ability to provide quality care
  • consultation with the social worker of any mokopuna placed with the caregiver.

At least every two years at the time of the review there will also be an:

  • updated police check (including family violence check) on the caregiver and all household occupants aged 17 years and older using the authorised police vetting form
  • updated CYRAS check on the caregiver and all household occupants aged 17 years and older
  • updated medical check.

Forms and Guides (authorised police vetting form)

If there are no changes or concerns then approval is continued. Any concerns arising from the review will be addressed in consultation with the supervisor and other relevant staff.

Change in circumstances
Where there are significant changes to the family or circumstances of the caregiver or they wish to change their approval type, the assessment and approval process must be followed.

Caregiver assessment and approval — Policy