Become a carer


Frequently asked questions

Making a real difference to the lives of mokopuna/children is incredibly rewarding. But there are lots of things to consider before you start. Our FAQs can help you think about whether becoming a matua whāngai/foster carer is right for you and your whānau.

Who are the children I’ll be fostering?

We provide foster placements for children, young people, and sibling groups. Usually the mokopuna placed with Key Assets are around 7-16 years of age. Many have experienced trauma or abuse. As a result, caregiving families need to prepare for some challenges. Children placed in your care may:
  • Run away or skip school.
  • Refuse to listen or do what is being asked of them.
  • Become verbally abusive or physically violent.
  • Demonstrate sexualised behaviours.
  • Self harm.
Foster caregiving is challenging, but deeply rewarding. Before you take on a mokopuna, we’ll provide you with as much information as possible – so you can make an informed decision about whether you and your whānau will be the right fit.

How much do I get paid for being a matua whāngai?

To support you in caring for a mokopuna, you will receive a foster care allowance of $678 per mokopuna, per week.

What can I use the allowance for?

You can use the foster care allowance to pay for whatever the mokopuna in your care needs. This includes, but is not limited to things like:
  • Pocket money for the mokopuna.
  • Local travelling costs to training events, support groups, appointments, and school.
  • Basic school equipmentt.
  • The mokopuna’s hobbies, interests, activities, and trips.
  • Telephone calls related to your fostering responsibilities.

What kinds of checks will I need to undergo?

As part of the application process, we carry out checks on all members of your household. These include:
  • A criminal records check on everyone over the age of 18 who lives with you.
  • Checks with The Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki.
  • A medical check from your GP.
  • A household safety check.
  • Personal references from your friends and whānau.
  • Personal references from adult children (if applicable).
You cannot become a matua whāngai if you have a recent conviction of any kind, or a historical conviction for a violent offence.

Can I balance paid employment with foster caring?

In some cases, it is still possible to continue with other paid work – but this depends on the circumstances and requires a great deal of flexibility from both you and your workplace.  We also require primary mātua whāngai to make themselves available for support groups and training – which mainly occur between Monday-Friday.

Who takes a mokopuna to school and appointments?

As a carer, you’ll be responsible for carrying out day-to-day tasks such as taking the mokopuna to school and appointments. You will also need to be available during school and Christmas holidays, or should the mokopuna in your care be sent home from school.

Can a mokopuna share a bedroom with one of my own children?

No. More often than not mokopuna need to have their own bedrooms. If similar-age, same-gender siblings are placed with you, they may be able to share a bedroom, but this will require safety planning and approval by Oranga Tamariki.

What happens once I’m approved as a matua whāngai?

Once our background checks have been completed and your application to become a matua whāngai is approved, we begin the process of matching you with a mokopuna. During this time, we work hard to make sure that you and your whānau are the right fit for the mokopuna who is needing care. This matching process considers a number of factors, including the age of your own mokopuna, your strengths and skills as a matua whāngai, and the behaviours and needs of the mokopuna.

“Some kids adapt and change quicker than others, and sometimes you might not see a shift for a long time… but it does come.”

Don, Key Assets Foster Carer

Want to become a carer?

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