Big steps forward for tamariki and caregivers
A summary of progress in 2018, and what's still to come.
We want every child to thrive in a safe, stable, loving home that connects them to their whānau and whakapapa.
This year, to support this mahi, we’ve started making improvements to the caregiver application and approval process; grown our pool of whānau caregivers; improved the support we offer our existing caregivers; and passed the Care Standards regulations to help lift the quality of care for tamariki and rangatahi.
Growing our caregiver pool
We believe that wherever possible, children and young people should be cared for within their whānau/family, hapu/community, or iwi. To support this we’ve been:
- Building relationships with iwi and kaupapa Māori social service providers to grow the number of whānau caregivers for tamariki Māori, who currently make up close to 70% of all children in care.
- Running marae-based assessment and learning experiences for whānau caregivers.
This work is set to continue throughout 2019.
Better support for caregivers
Supporting our caregivers is a top priority and this year we’ve:
- Launched our 24/7 Caregiver Guidance and Advice Line. We’re now looking at ways to improve the service based on caregiver feedback.
- Piloted trauma-informed training for caregivers to help them care for tamariki with challenging behaviours. The pilots will continue in 2019.
- Set up a Centralised Enquiries team to give advice and guidance to prospective caregivers, and to support them through the application and approval process.
In March 2019 we're introducing regionally based Care Teams whose sole focus will be finding and supporting caregivers.
This means our caregivers will have access to a dedicated team of Caregiver Social Workers based in their region.
The team will work closely with other parts of Oranga Tamariki, social services, and other key partners to ensure caregivers and the tamariki and rangatahi in their care get the information and support they need, when they need it.
This will include following up with caregivers if they contact the 24/7 Guidance and Advice Line.
From 1 July 2019, the Care Standards will come into effect.
The Care Standards set out the standard of care every child and young person in care needs to be well, and do well. They also set out the support caregivers can expect to receive when they open their hearts and homes to tamariki.
Our Caregiver Social Workers will make sure caregivers understand what the Standards mean for them and the tamariki in their care, including what it will mean for their support plans. We’ll also be working alongside our Care Partners to bring the Care Standards into effect.
Alongside the Care Standards, we’re looking at how we can better support young people in care as they move into adulthood.
We’re calling this our Transition Support Service.
From 1 July next year, young people will be entitled to remain with a caregiver after they turn 18, right through until they turn 21.
The young person may want to stay with the same caregiver (with their agreement), or else we’ll support them to find another suitable placement.
We’ll continue to support our caregivers throughout these three extra years.
Early next year we’ll be contacting caregivers of young people who are about to turn 18 to hear their thoughts on what transition support might mean for them and the young people in their care.