Caregiver support and review policy

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.

Child, Youth and Family 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 mokopuna in the custody of the chief executive. 

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 Child, Youth and Family prior to their approval. Upon approval caregivers must be given a copy of the caregiver handbook Your Care Matters and the foster care journal.

Financial support

It is expected that at the time of placement and at regular intervals thereafter the care needs of the mokopuna 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 Child, Youth and Family caregivers must receive the standard payment of $20.00 per fortnight per mokopuna to enable them to cover small cost items for the mokopuna 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 mokopuna in the custody of the chief executive must have their reasonable clothing needs met, including the provision of school uniforms.

All mokopuna 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 mokopuna 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 mokopuna. Each allowance is at half the rate of the board payment.

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

Click here for specific details about what foster care and clothing allowances cover and here for current rates.

Visits with the caregiver by their social worker

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 with the caregiver by the social worker for the mokopuna

The social worker for the mokopuna will visit with the caregiver for the mokopuna at least every eight weeks, irrespective of whether this coincides with their visit with 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 and matters relating to the provision of care to the mokopuna.

During these visits, the social worker for the mokopuna will also check that routine matters such as board payments, clothing issues, contact with family/whānau and any other needs are being addressed.

Charters for mokopuna in care

All caregivers are to be given a copy of the charter, and the fact sheet for caregivers. They must be given the opportunity to discuss this with a social worker and be informed of Child, Youth and Family's Complaints Resolution policy.

Caregiver claims for deliberate damage 

Caregivers whose property is damaged by a mokopuna 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.

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 Child, Youth and Family's National Office. The caregiver is responsible for payment of fees after the first two years.

Caregiver support when they are alleged to have abused or neglected a mokopuna in their care

Caregivers are to be supported by their caregiver social worker while they are the subject of any allegation of abuse or neglect 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.

Click here for the allegations of abuse or neglect of mokopuna by caregivers policy.

Training/professional development

All Child, Youth and Family caregivers must attend the Ways to Care preparation programme. Family/whanau caregiver may have this learning delivered to them outside of the workshops through alternative means if necessary.

All Child, Youth and Family caregivers must also have a personal learning and development plan that is regularly reviewed by the caregiver social worker.

Family/whānau caregivers are encouraged to attend any appropriate caregiver training, which supports their particular family circumstances. They may also have a personal learning and development plan.

Permanent care

Child, Youth and Family 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 family/whānau and non-family/whānau caregivers will have access to a package of support that will extend beyond the discharge of orders against the chief executive. The 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.

Refer to:

Review of approval status and support needs

All caregivers (both family/whānau and non family/whānau) 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 Key Information: 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:

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.

Updated 6 March 2017