Who can be a caregiver?

We find and support the right caregivers to provide safe, stable, loving homes for tamariki and rangatahi in need of care.

Father and son high five

Oranga Tamariki caregivers

Caregivers have a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures and experiences – just like the tamariki and rangatahi they care for.

Every caregiver is unique. They’re connected through their willingness to help, and the aroha they have for the children and young people in their care.

More than half of our caregivers look after children or young people from their extended whānau or family group, and we support them to do this. Others have opened their homes because they are passionate about caring for children in need of support.

Children and young people have told us they need caregivers who make them feel loved and part of the family, and help them learn, heal and grow.

People who provide care for tamariki and rangatahi through Oranga Tamariki need to be permanent New Zealand residents or New Zealand citizens.

Being a caregiver with Oranga Tamariki is voluntary, with financial help provided to meet the day-to-day expenses that looking after a child or young person involves.

Caring for children and young people

Children and young people have told us they need caregivers who:

  • make them feel welcomed and loved
  • provide more than just food, shelter and supervision, by helping them feel part of the caregiving whānau for the duration of their stay
  • meet a range of needs and help them to learn, grow and heal
  • can persevere and be patient, no matter what
  • support them to maintain relationships with their friends and family
  • help them develop skills, knowledge and experiences to prepare them for young adulthood.

Our priority is always to find a caregiver from within a child’s wider family, whānau or community who can offer them a safe, stable, loving home for as long as needed. We do this in several ways, including through family group conferences, hui a-whānau, and our Whānau Care partnerships.

Sometimes we need non-whānau caregivers to open their home to a child or young person until they can safely return home or until we find a caregiver from their wider family or whānau. We support our non-whānau caregivers to keep children in their care connected to their whānau or family and whakapapa.

We sometimes need both whānau and non-whānau caregivers who can care for children and young people in an emergency, or when their usual caregiver takes a break.

Whānau Care partners: caring for tamariki Māori

Around 70% of tamariki and rangatahi in care are Māori, and we’re working in partnership with iwi and kāupapa Māori providers to connect tamariki Māori in care to caregivers from their whānau, hapū or iwi.

Together we support our Whānau Care partners to determine their best ways of caring for their tamariki and rangatahi.

Our Whānau Care partners are all slightly different based on their aspirations for their tamariki, so the models of care we co-design with them differ from partner to partner. The end goal is always the same though – to connect tamariki and rangatahi Māori in care to their whakapapa through well-supported whānau caregivers.

If you’re interested in becoming a whānau caregiver with one of our Whānau Care partners, please get in touch with us on 0508 227 377 (and select option 1, for caregiver enquires) and we can see if one of our partners would be a good fit for you.

Interested in caring for a child or young person?

Oranga Tamariki supports both whānau or family and non-whānau caregivers.

Check out the pages in this section to find out what’s involved, including financial assistance and learning opportunities for caregiving whānau.

Make an enquiry using our online form

Published: February 13, 2023 · Updated: February 13, 2023