Become a Caregiver

Caregivers come from all sorts of backgrounds. Caregivers can be married, partnered or single. They can be working full-time or a stay-at-home parent. Some caregivers own their own home, while other caregivers are renting.

What all successful caregivers have in common is the ability to provide a safe, nurturing home, and the capacity to understand how trauma impacts on a child’s behaviour.

Caring for a child who has experienced trauma does require understanding. It is crucially important to have training and support throughout the caregiving journey to ensure you are equipped for the role, and can provide a place where positive change can occur.

Applying To Be A Caregiver

Caregivers must be approved and trained in order to take on a child or young person. The entire application process usually takes between two and three months, and involves:

A police check.

A series of personal interviews, one of which is conducted in your home.

A medical report from your doctor.

Training (specific programme depends on the agency you are working with).

Checks with two referees.

Where to Apply

Caregiver recruitment is carried out by both Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Children (formerly Child, Youth and Family) and a range of Non-Government Organisations.
The list below outlines the agencies available in your region.


Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Children – Caregiver recruitment and training

Key Assets – Caregiver recruitment and training

Open Home Foundation – Caregiver recruitment and training

Upper North

Ngapuhi Iwi Social Services – Kaikohe – Iwi services

Barnardos – Whangarei – Respite services

Youth Horizons – Whangarei – Home based caregiver and residential home caregiver recruitment


Barnardos – Royal Oak –Caregiver recruitment and training

Te Iwi o Ngati Kahu Trust – Papatoetoe – Iwi caregiver recruitment and training


Reconnect Family Services – Manukau – Caregiver recruitment and training

Lifewise – New Lynn – Caregiver recruitment and training

Youth Horizons – Waikato – Caregiver recruitment and training

Central North

Homes of Hope – Tauranga – Caregiver recruitment and training

Youth Horizons – Bay of Plenty – Caregiver recruitment and training

Lower North

Across – Palmerston North – Caregiver recruitment and training

Wesley Community Action – Wellington – Caregiver recruitment

Barnardos – Levin – Respite caregiver recruitment and training

Kokiri Marae Social Services – Hutt Valley – Whanau caregiver recruitment and training

Upper South

Homebuilder West Coast Trust – Westport – Respite caregiver recruitment and training


Anglican Family Care

Caregiver recruitment

Lower South

Family Works – Invercargill

Caregiver recruitment and training

Types of Care

There are a number of ways you can make a difference in the caregiving community. Here are the main paths you can take:

Respite care
Respite caregivers take on the role of a surrogate relative, providing care for a short period of time to give the regular caregiver a break. This is a great opportunity to have a positive influence on a child’s life, even if you are not able to commit to full-time caregiving.
Emergency care
Emergency caregivers provide safe havens for children and young people who have been removed from their home, often suddenly because of an imminent risk. Emergency caregivers need specialist skills to help the children and young people process what has happened to them.
Transitional or short-term care
Sometimes it is not immediately possible for social workers to determine the long-term plan for a child or young person. In those situations, high quality short term care is needed. Transitional or short-term caregivers need to provide stability, love and understanding during what is an unsettling time for the child.
Family home care
Oranga Tamariki owns homes around New Zealand where two adult caregivers live with and take care of up to six children within a home environment. Caregivers who perform this role need a high level of expertise dealing with traumatised children and young people up to the age of 16. The caregivers live rent free and are paid an allowance for the children in their care.
Permanent care
When it is determined a child will not return to their birth family, social workers look for other permanent options. Permanent caregivers provide a ‘Guardianship’ for children who need one. This involves a legal process which results in the child or young person transitioning out of the care of the State, and into the care of the permanent caregivers.

Regional Support

Caring Families Aotearoa has ten Regional Coordinators covering New Zealand. They provide advice, guidance and support to individual members, member Associations and Support Groups and agencies in their regions.

They also network with Non Government Organisations (NGO) and their local Oranga Tamariki sites. Should you need support, advice or would like to be connected to caregivers in your area please contact the Regional Coordinator in your area.