Becoming a respite caregiver

Respite care is short-term care for a tamaiti or rangatahi. Learn about the steps to becoming a respite caregiver.

What is respite care?

Respite caregivers are part of a community of people who care for a tamaiti or rangatahi. Every so often they step in for a short period of time, so that everyone can have a break.

They offer a ‘second’ home, where tamariki can continue to feel safe, loved and cared for.

Who can be a respite caregiver?

Respite care is a great opportunity to connect tamariki in care with other tāngata who are important to them – like an aunty, cousin, sibling or grandparent.

Ideally this tangata is someone they already know and trust from their wider whānau or community network.

If this isn’t possible, we’ll work with the caregiver and the tamaiti to build a positive and trusted relationship with someone who can provide safe, stable, loving respite care.

How much time do I need to commit?

Stability and certainty are really important for tamariki and rangatahi in care.

Respite care can be unsettling for them, and we want to make sure it’s planned in advance and they know what to expect.  

Ideally we want respite caregivers who can provide consistent and regular respite care for a specific tamaiti or rangatahi. That way they will come to trust you and your whānau.

It also means the caregiver can look forward to predictable and planned breaks.

The time it takes will depend on the specific needs of the caregiver and the tamaiti or rangatahi in their care. Occasionally respite care may also be needed to support the caregiver in an emergency.

What support will I get?

Your caregiver social worker will make sure you’re supported every step of the way.

You’ll go through an assessment and approval process, and receive some training.

Support you will get includes:

  • We’ll put a Caregiver Support Plan in place to help you meet the specific needs of the tamaiti or rangatahi in your care.
  • You’ll also see the plan for the tamaiti or rangatahi (All About Me Plan) so that you can understand their needs and preferences.
  • Respite care arrangements will be factored into everyone’s support plans so that everyone knows what to expect and how it will work.
  • You’ll receive the Foster Care Allowance while the tamaiti or rangatahi is in your care. This will help you cover the costs of extra kai, power and entertainment.

Read our caregiver stories to find out what it’s really like

Enquire now

Published: August 28, 2023