Some options after a positive test
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.
What legal rights do foster parents have over my child?
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.