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Moving Forward: Implementing the 'Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children'

Assessment framework for kinship carers, New Zealand

Focus 9: Gatekeeping: State involvement in informal care arrangements

A caregiver assessment and approval framework was developed for kinship carers as a way of offering informal carers support and services as an active encouragement to voluntary registration. Alongside this, a health and education assessment for children entering care was undertaken so that agencies implementing services could ensure their health and education needs are met.

The formal aspects of the assessment process are the same for non-family caregivers and family caregivers (or, in the Maori context ‘whanau’, meaning extended family). Police, referee checks, background departmental information checks, assessment of home and physical environment, and social work interviews, are carried out for both groups. A medical report is also required for non-family caregivers, but with the family caregiver applicant medical assessment can be done directly in discussion. Where there are any concerns the social worker will seek permission to get a written report from the applicant’s doctor.

The interview/discussion with family is intended to be a joint exploration of the needs of the child and the caregiver’s needs with respect to their support of the child. In this way formalising a well-established informal care arrangement can be beneficial to both the child and the carers.  

For more information see: A Framework of Practice for Implementing a Kinship Care Program

International Social Service, Oak Foundation, SOS Children's Villages International, unicef, ATD Fourth World, Better Care Network, Family for every child, ngo group for the crc, PEPFAR, RELAF, Save the Children, USAID