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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
Where ever possible, our goal is for children to return to their own families.
A child may need your care while we work with their family to make decisions about what's best for the child, and how to make sure they are safe and well cared for. This is usually for a period of between a month and six months.
It may be decided that the best thing for the child is to live away from home for a longer period, while maintaining contact with the birth family. In this case, a child will be with you for six months or more. This means welcoming them into your home as part of your family for as long as they need it.
"I find it very enriching. You are able to give to the child, but you learn from the child as well."Julia, caregiver.
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.
Ideally, our goal would be for these caregivers to take guardianship of the child, so they are no longer a foster child, but simply part of the family for life.
"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.
Family Home care
We also own homes around New Zealand, where two adult caregivers live and take care of up to six children within the home environment.
Kids in these homes can be up to 16 years old, and it is run like a normal household. Family home caregivers manage the home, look after the kids and are skilled in taking care of children with a range of needs.
Family Home caregivers live in the home for 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.