Becoming a care partner

This page provides information on the process that organisations go through to become a care partner and the support that is available.

Becoming a care partner process

A care partner is an organisation that provides care for a child who is in state care and in custody under the Oranga Tamariki Act. The National Care Standards apply.

There are four phases in the process to becoming a care partner:

  1. preparation
  2. care partner readiness
  3. confirmation of partner
  4. transition into the Quality Assurance cycle.

Guiding principles

The following principles underpin the process of becoming a care partner:

  • Tamariki Māori should be with whānau, hapū and iwi wherever possible.
  • Before approving new care partners, we need to consider what is already provided in the local area and talk with key stakeholders.
  • We will provide resources and support for new care partners to provide care for tamariki.
  • We work collectively and in partnership to co-design services and improve the experiences and outcomes of tamariki in care.
  • Together we ensure our statutory responsibilities to assess the needs of the child and have the right plans in place for them.

Role of Social Services Accreditation (SSA)

From 1 July 2021, Social Services Accreditation (SSA) will focus on assessing care partners’ business processes and systems against the SSA core Level 1 Standards.

However, SSA will no longer perform the role of reviewing partners against their Specialist Care Standards. The Partnering for Outcomes (PfO) National Quality Hub will be taking over this function – using a new Quality Assurance Framework that has been worked up with existing care partners.

Approval of care partners will require both the Level 1 core SSA standards and confirmation of Quality of Practice by Oranga Tamariki to be approved and maintain s396 approval from 1 July 2021.

SSA and the PfO National Quality Hub have designed a joint approach to working with partners. Both parties are committed to working together to minimise any confusion and duplication for care partners. Each party will manage their own assessment cycle and reporting. Where requested by care partners, SSA and the PfO National Quality Hub will work together to plan a suitably streamlined process, on a case-by-case basis.


If your organisation is considering becoming a care partner, get in touch with your local Partnering for Outcomes contact and the Partnering for Outcomes National Quality Hub:

For more information about the Quality Assurance function and cycle, visit the Quality Assurance page on our website.

Published: September 9, 2021