There are many things you need to know before becoming a foster carer in New Zealand. That’s why we’ve put together answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about fostering to help you decide whether it’s right for you.

What is fostering?

Foster care is when a child lives with a different family who can provide them with the care and support by offering a safe, secure and nurturing home. Fostering a child can be short or long term, lasting for days, months or years. You can read more about the different types of fostering placements available from Key Assets.

Can I apply to become a foster carer?

We welcome foster carers from a range of backgrounds including race, religion, income or material status. We’re looking for people who can provide a safe, caring and supportive environment for children and young people. Full criteria can be viewed here.

Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?

You cannot foster a child if you have a recent conviction of any kind or a historical conviction for any offence of violence.

What kind of checks will you carry out on me and my home?

We carry out a number of checks as part of the application process. These include:

  • Criminal records check on all members of your household over the age of 18
  • Medical check from your GP
  • Household safety check
  • Personal references
  • Checks with MSD and the Ministry of Children Oranga Tamariki

I’m going to be the main foster carer do you need to carry out checks on other family members?

Yes, we carry out checks on all members of your household.

Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?

In order for foster children to receive the high-quality care they deserve, primary foster carers are to make a full time commitment to fostering and be available as they would for their own children. We also require the primary foster carer to make themselves available for support groups and training.

In some cases, it’s still possible to continue working but this depends on your individual circumstances. For more information please contact us.

Can a foster child share a bedroom with one of my own children?

Children of the same gender and similar ages can, in some circumstances, share a bedroom, but this is subject to safety plans.

Can I choose which age group or gender I would prefer to foster?

Yes, you can. Though you’re more likely to have continuous placements if you’re willing to take children of all ages or genders.

Can I choose how long I want a child or young person to stay with me?

During the assessment process, we will help you to decide which types of fostering placement suit you best. It isn’t always possible to know how long a child may stay with you, especially with emergency and temporary placements, but we’ll keep you informed by passing on all the information we can.

How much will I know about the child or young person before they are placed with me?

We’ll provide you with as much information as possible about potential placements before you decide whether to take it on.

How long will it take for me to have my first placement?

You can begin taking placements as soon as you’ve been approved as a foster carer. There’s no set time-frame from approval to first placement as this depends on your flexibility to accommodate time for training and how you succeed through the eligibility and careful matching process.

Who is responsible for taking the children to school or the doctor?

As a foster carer, you’ll be responsible for carrying out day-to-day tasks such as taking children to school and medical appointments. However, on the odd occasion that you have a problem, your supervising social worker will help you make alternative arrangements.

For more information about becoming a foster carer with Key Assets please call 09 263 5151 or fill out our online enquiry form.