Home | Browse Topics | Prisoner's rights | | Foster Care

Prisoner's rights

Some options after a positive test

Foster Care

What is foster care?

Foster care is when a child’s day-to-day care is provided by someone other than the child’s birth parents. This could be for a short time or a long time. Foster care could be needed for a lot of different reasons, including to give the parents a break at a stressful time in their lives.

Foster care describes a care arrangement, and the particular legal arrangement will depend on the circumstances.

How is foster care arranged?

Foster care can be organised through Oranga Tamariki or other service providers and the preference is for a child to be cared for by the child’s wider family, whānau or community.

A quick google search for “foster care providers” will show you a range of potential service providers. You can also contact a Citizens’ Advice Bureau near you for more information.

Foster parents will be responsible for caring for your child, but they don’t have any legal rights over your child. You remain your child’s legal guardian in most situations.

When foster care is arranged through Oranga Tamariki, the court will make Oranga Tamariki an additional guardian so they can provide day-to-day care of your child. This gives Oranga Tamariki the right to place your child in a foster care arrangement.

If a foster family has had your child in their care for a long period of time they could apply to the court for additional guardianship and for day-to-day care, in place of Oranga Tamariki (this is called “Home for Life”). You would still be a guardian unless the court decided you were no longer fit to be a guardian. The situation has to be very serious for the court to decide to remove someone as a guardian, so this does not happen very often.

Do I have to pay for my child to get foster care?

No. Foster parents appointed by Oranga Tamariki or arranged through a foster care agency are usually paid a government-funded allowance for giving foster care.

If your child is placed in an informal foster care (with family or friends, for example), you will have to work out with the people providing the care whether they expect any payment from you for the care of your child.

Next Section | Whāngai

Did this answer your question?

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide initial free legal advice and information.

Also available as a book

Pregnancy Rights

A basic, plain language guide that contains practical answers to questions about pregnancy and the law. It covers sex and consent, options after a positive pregnancy test, what help you can get with school, work, and parenting and more. Pregnancy Rights is written for young pregnant people, their whānau and advocates.

Buy Pregnancy Rights

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top