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Ways you can care
There's a variety of ways you can make a difference to our children's lives. You might be able to give a night or a weekend to give other carers a break, or you may want to welcome a child into your home for a longer time. There are a range of care options.
On this page:
This is when a child or young person is placed in your care at short notice because there are serious concerns for their safety. Emergency caregivers can get a call from us at any time of day or night, with a child who urgently needs care.
In this case, planning may have to be completed once the child is with you, but you'll always receive some information about the child when they come to you.
"At about one o'clock on Christmas morning I had a social worker call up and say there was a 12-year-old down at the Police station….So up we got and rummaged around for extra presents that might be suitable for a 12 year old. It was such a blessing to see the joy on that boy's face when he got to open presents along with the other kids." Allysa, emergency caregiver.
This is when you take a child for a weekend or a short period of time, to give their parents or caregivers a break. It might be a regular thing, like having the child stay with you once a month. It's a great opportunity to give a child a fun time and be a positive influence in their lives, for the short time they are with you.
"Even though the kids are only with you for a week or a month, you hope that by giving them a warm home and caring environment, you can show them that they can have those things in their life. Yes they're naughty but when you know what they've been through you can't blame them. We've met some really neat kids too and we've been able to stay in touch." Holli, short term and respite caregiver.
Transitional or short-term care
When it’s not clear what the long-term plan should be for a child, they might need your care for about six months while we work with their family to plan what’s best for the child. Wherever possible, our goal is for children to return to their families. However, it might be decided that a child should live away from home for a longer time. This is where you can provide a stable, loving home for a child, welcoming them as part of your family. Meanwhile, the child maintains contact with their birth family. "I find it very enriching. You are able to give to the child, but you learn from the child as well." Julia, caregiver.
When it’s not clear what the long-term plan should be for a child, they might need your care for about six months while we work with their family to plan what’s best for the child.
Wherever possible, our goal is for children to return to their families. However, it might be decided that a child should live away from home for a longer time. This is where you can provide a stable, loving home for a child, welcoming them as part of your family. Meanwhile, the child maintains contact with their birth family.
"I find it very enriching. You are able to give to the child, but you learn from the child as well." Julia, caregiver.
Family Home care
We own homes around New Zealand, where two adult caregivers live and take care of up to six children within a home environment. These homes are run like a normal household. We need people who are highly skilled at looking after children aged up to 16 with a range of needs.
Family Home caregivers live in the home rent-free, and receive a care allowance for the children in their care.
"Without a doubt it's the kids that make it all worthwhile, it's their smiling faces and seeing them have new experiences. The highlights are endless. Although the challenges are great, the rewards are great too." Linda, Family Home caregiver.
Giving a foster child a home for life means that they are no longer in the care of Child, Youth and Family care, they are in your care for life.
This is the goal when children will not be able to return to their own families. It means welcoming a child into your home for life and raising them as an integral part of your family. The child still maintains contact with their family of origin, but this gives them a real sense of security and belonging as part of your family.
Offering a home for life is a legal process and we will help you through the steps, work with you on the child's plan and support you as you apply to the Family Court.
"If a child can't be brought up with their whakapapa whānau, then to be brought up in a loving, caring, nurturing environment where people love and respect them, and acknowledge who they are, is the most important thing. I don't view my boy any differently from my other babies. It's a blessing to be given the chance to be a dad again, I wouldn't have it any other way." Pahia, whangai foster dad.
We are here to help you with anything to do with the adoption process, and will give you support, guidance and practical help. We work with families wanting to adopt a child, as well as birthparents. We can also help if you are an adopted child looking for your birthparents, or if you are looking for a birth child.
If you are interested in becoming adoptive parents, we will help you through the process. We focus on finding the right family for each child, and encourage ongoing connection with the child’s birth family and their culture.
Find out more from the experts, caregivers and young people themselves
Nigel Latta, experts, caregivers and young people give you an in-depth look at the joys and challenges of foster care, with lots of practical tips.
The video clip below profiles the different sorts of care, what makes a great caregiver, and how you can change young lives (click on the image to play the video, or click here for the transcript)
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You can also download the video here. Size 38.3Mb.
What you really need to know provides answers to all the hard questions. This collection of short video clips is a great resource for anyone involved in fostering.
Find out more about who can become a caregiver, why it matters, what it involves, the support you'll get, and the application process.