A survey of Oranga Tamariki caregivers

Published: September 11, 2019

To make sure our caregivers have what they need to provide safe, stable, loving homes for tamariki and rangatahi, we ran a survey for 4,000 Oranga Tamariki caregivers and respite caregivers who provide care to children.


We believe that in the right environment, with the right people surrounding and nurturing them, tamariki can and will flourish. We need to make sure their caregivers have what they need to provide safe, stable, loving homes, and this means understanding what we're doing well and where we could be doing better.

Significant legislative and practice changes came into effect from 1 July 2019 including the new National Care Standards. These changes are guiding us to work in new and better ways with tamariki, family, whānau and communities, and this survey provides a baseline for us to monitor the changes we're making to better support our caregivers.

Key findings

We used a census approach for the survey, contacting a total of 3,848 caregivers of which 1,283 responded. The survey data was weighted to ensure the sample was representative of our caregivers in terms of their relationship to the child in their care (whānau or non-whānau) and their ethnicity (Māori/non-Māori/not recorded).

The results show that we need to do better for many of our caregivers. Mixed feelings are common throughout the measures in the survey, suggesting inconsistency of support or that the caregiver’s satisfaction often depends on specific situations and team members.

Five key pieces of feedback gained from the survey findings are:

  • Many caregivers told us they don’t feel valued or listened to
  • Caregivers’ experiences with social workers make a big difference to them
  • Caregivers often feel they don’t have enough information or communication from us
  • Many caregivers were satisfied with the process of becoming a caregiver, but some found it frustrating
  • Some caregivers are struggling financially as a result of being a caregiver and improvements should be made to the support they receive.

We already have a significant amount of work underway to better support our caregivers.

  • In March our new Caregiver Recruitment & Support Service got up and running. This means we now have a team of people who are solely dedicated to working with and supporting our caregivers. We recently welcomed the first group of new Caregiver Social Workers to the team which means we have more people on hand to support our caregivers when they need it. We also have a Caregiver Experience and Insights Manager to keep us focused on what we can do better to meet caregiver needs. 
  • Tamariki Māori are disproportionately represented in care, and our Care Teams are working closely with our iwi partners and kaupapa Māori providers to find and support caregivers from the child’s whānau, hapū or iwi.
  • With the National Care Standards now in effect, we’re working hard to make sure caregiver assessments and support plans are up to date and useful for caregivers and the children they care for.
  • We’re leading a review into the financial assistance provided to caregivers, and have started to make improvements to the caregiver journey from the application process right through to ongoing training and support.

Caregivers need to be fully supported, listened to and valued.

Regression analysis based on Caregiver Survey data

This mini-report shows the results of regression analyses to determine the drivers of satisfaction for the support Oranga Tamariki provides caregivers overall and for four subgroups of interest:

  • Māori
  • recent caregivers (less than 2 years)
  • whānau caregivers
  • Māori who are whānau caregivers

The analyses use data from the main survey and we have reported the overall findings in the main report.