The way financial and other assistance is provided to Home for Life and Permanent Caregivers has changed....

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What is this service?

You can now get help providing for the needs of the child in your care

Support is available to you if you are a permanent caregiver as follows:

  • you are a special guardian
  • you have orders under the Care of Children act 2004 in substitution for orders or a section 140 agreement under the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
  • you provide a permanent living arrangement for a child or young person who has been in the custody of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (previously Child, Youth and Family) or an approved social service provider, but you have no legal orders in place. Who is eligible?

Permanent Caregiver Support Service (PCSS)

From 1 July 2016 there is a new approach to supporting caregivers providing permanent homes (or a Home for Life) for children and young people who cannot live with their parents. Support required will be coordinated by the new national Permanent Caregiver Support Service (PCSS), a non-government social service organisation with delegated responsibilities from the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (previously the Ministry of Social Development).

The Permanent Caregiver Support Service is a contact centre staffed by qualified and registered social workers in Palmerston North. Social workers are available to permanent caregivers from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday apart from statutory holidays.

The service will provide financial and other assistance to permanent caregivers, both kin and non kin, in accordance with the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.

Existing Permanent Caregivers - requests for financial and other assistance

Existing permanent caregivers already providing permanent care for a child or young person placed by the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (previously CYF) or an approved social service provider can contact the Permanent Caregiver Support Service at any time up until the child or young person in their care is 18 to request financial and other assistance. A Permanent Caregiver Support Service social worker will discuss what a caregiver may be entitled to based on the criteria in the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 and what is required to meet the needs of the child. A plan will be developed for approval and then implementation.

If you are not happy with a decision the PCSS make about the support you have requested, you can talk to us about having decisions reviewed and/or access the Review of Decision form from the FAQs section of this website. The form will need to be sent or emailed to the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (previously the Ministry of Social Development). The Ministry will review the decision and communicate directly with you.

Caregivers in the Process of Applying for Permanent Legal Orders - Referrals for financial and other assistance

The Permanent Caregiver Support Service will manage referrals from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (previously Child, Youth and Family) or an approved social service provider for caregivers contemplating, or in the process of, taking permanent orders for a child placed in their care. The referring social worker will consult with the Permanent Caregiver Support Service social worker as they are working with the caregiver to develop a support plan. This support plan, once agreed to, can provide support for up to 12 months. The Permanent Caregiver Support Service will implement this plan once orders are made and coordinate the support agreed to in the plan.

At the end of the plan period the Permanent Caregiver Support Service will review the plan to see whether the caregiver needs ongoing support and, if so, what support is required for the caregiver to be able to meet the needs of the child. Any support agreed to must meet the criteria in s388A of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989.

How have things changed?

When it is not possible for a child or young person to be returned to the care of their parents, a Home for Life placement offers a stable environment for that child or young person and gives them relationships for life that are permanent, stable and nurturing.

Up until 1 July 2016 when a child or young person was placed permanently with a Home for Life caregiver, that caregiver was able to get any ongoing and necessary support through a court order - either a services order or occasionally a support order. In addition, and sometimes alternatively, Home for Life caregivers have been offered the Home for Life support package which includes phone and face-to-face meeting support. From 1 July 2016 the new approach offers more individually tailored support to meet the needs of a child or young person placed in the permanent care of a caregiver by the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (previously CYF) or an approved social service provider.

The new section 388A in the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act requires the Chief Executive of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (previously the Ministry of Social Development) to provide financial and other assistance to permanent caregivers, kin and non kin, in specific circumstances. The Chief Executive's obligation has been delegated to the Permanent Caregiver Support Service.

The legislative amendments also:

  • establish review and appeal mechanisms when permanent caregivers are dissatisfied with decisions made by the Permanent Caregiver Support Service under delegation from the Chief Executive.
  • prevent permanent caregivers getting support via section 86 Services Orders after 1 July 2016. Existing services orders will expire on the first review due after 1 July 2016. Caregivers will also not be able to get section 91 Support Orders if their purpose is to provide support to permanent caregivers that could be provided through the new section 388A.

The intent of these changes is to better support caregivers in meeting the needs of children and young people who have been placed with them permanently. The Permanent Caregiver Support Service will outwork the legislative intent.

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