Published: May 17, 2020
Budget 2020 continues to focus on the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also preparing the economy for the future.
In response to the impacts of COVID-19, Budget 2020 also helps puts money right where it’s needed - directly into the hands of those in our communities who keep rangatahi and tamariki safe and cared for, including whānau Maori, NGOs and caregivers.
Importantly for Oranga Tamariki, the Budget builds on the work of the previous year, where $1.1 billion was committed to transform the Care system to deliver on our high aspirations for children.
The Government is investing $480.6 million to equip caregivers and partners to ensure they have the support they need to care for children and young people.
This new funding includes:
$209.9 million over four years to increase financial assistance for around 22,000 children being looked after by around 14,000 caregivers. This is being delivered through four key changes:
- $143.1 million to increase the base rates for the Foster Care Allowance, Unsupported Child’s Benefit and Orphan’s Benefit by $25 a week.
- $3.3 million to provide 20 days of paid respite over the next year for caregivers who receive the Foster Care Allowance.
- $46.6 million to enable short-term caregivers to access the Orphan’s Benefit or Unsupported Child’s Benefit, provided they meet the other legislative criteria.
- $16.9 million to extend Birthday and Christmas Allowances to those on the Orphan’s Benefit and Unsupported Child’s Benefit.
$229.9 million over four years to target immediate cost pressures including:
- meeting the increasing costs of children in care
- supporting the sustainability and effectiveness of NGO social service providers to address immediate cost pressures
- meeting costs of obligations under collective agreements.
$14.1 million over a four-year period for joint bids including:
- $8.1 million for family violence services
- $6.0 million for the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse of Children in Care and Faith Based Institutions.
$26.7 million of capital expenditure to refurbish residential environments.
Over the next few weeks MSD and Oranga Tamariki will be finalising the allocation of funding for the services receiving investment through Budget 2020, and will be in contact with affected providers to let them know what this means for them.
Supporting Oranga Tamariki caregivers
We know that COVID-19 has put added pressure on our caregivers and caregiving households. Lockdown has meant extra expenses and for some, a reduced income. Our caregivers have also been unable to access respite care and other supports for the children during this challenging time.
Budget 2020 puts money directly into the hands of our caregivers who play a vital role in the wider system of support for our most at risk children. This new funding will support caregivers to ensure they have what they need to meet the needs of the children and young people in their care. This is more important than ever as we move into the recovery phase of COVID-19.
Supporting Iwi and NGOs
Oranga Tamariki is continuing to support the work that iwi, Māori and NGO partners do to help children, families and communities achieve their goals and improve their wellbeing. Helping families get earlier support so that Oranga Tamariki do not need to be formally involved is a key goal.
These services are facing particular challenges with recruitment and retention of qualified and experienced staff who can connect with people and families and provide the support that they need.
That’s why the Government is investing an additional $57.7 million now and over four years to help meet the immediate cost pressures of partners that provide this early support.
Connecting Government services
Budget 2020 has committed to our joint venture with Police which will create a combination of services designed to help children and youth experiencing family violence.
With this funding we will be able to utilise some of our existing partner networks and local NGO that provide wrap-around support to children and families, including counselling and trauma focused programmes. The initiative is expected to help more than 2000 children across New Zealand each year.