The National Care Standards set out the standard of care every child and young person needs to do well and be well, and the support all caregivers can expect to receive when they open their hearts and homes to tamariki. They came into effect on 1 July 2019.
The Care Standards include a child-friendly Statement of Rights to ensure every child and young person in care understands what they’re entitled to and knows how to speak up or make a complaint.
The Care Standards are consistent with what we already consider to be good practice.
What’s covered in the Care Standards
There are six parts to the Care Standards which you can read about below. To help us meet our obligations under the standards we’ve created a range of resources for tamariki and rangatahi in care, including the My Voice My Rights cards. These are designed to help young people understand what they’re entitled to under the Care Standards.
Part One: Needs assessments and plans for children
Under Part One, children and young people in care are entitled to a holistic needs assessment and support plan that reflects their views, wishes, aspirations and strengths. The views of their whānau, hapū and iwi must be heard and taken into account, and the plan must be maintained and reviewed regularly.
Part One also covers regular visits to children in care by their social worker.
Part Two: Meeting the needs of children in care
Part Two is about making sure the children’s needs are met while they are in care. This includes things like:
- Financial and specialist support to help them maintain whānau connections, and to help meet their cultural, recreational, education and health needs
- They must be able to easily take their belongings with them and keep them safe
- Caregivers must have access to the right support and services to help them meet the needs of tamariki in their care.
Part Three: Assessments, plans and support for caregivers
Under Part Three, every caregiver is entitled to an assessment and support plan to help them meet the needs of children and young people in their care. The plan needs to cover things like:
- Information about the child coming into their care
- Training, resources and financial support
- Keeping young people connected to their whānau and culture
- Supporting children to stay healthy and do well at school.
Part Three also covers the processes we need to carry out before we can approve someone as a caregiver.
Part Four: Supporting children to express their views and contribute to their care experience
Under Part Four, children in care must be supported to have a voice and actively contribute to their care experience. They must:
- Receive child-friendly information about what they’re entitled to under the regulations
- Be supported to speak up if they’re not getting the care they are entitled to
- Have a way to capture the important things that are happening in their lives
- Have the opportunity to find out about their potential caregiver before they go and stay with them.
Part Five: Supporting children during care transitions
We have to make sure children and young people are well supported during care transitions. This includes when they are:
- Moving between different care arrangements
- Returning home after being in care
- Leaving care
- Transitioning into adulthood.
Part Six: Monitoring and reporting on compliance with the National Care Standards
Part Six establishes an Independent Monitor to monitor and report to the Minister for Children on compliance with the Care Standards Regulations.
It also requires Oranga Tamariki and organisations that have legal custody of children and young people under section 396 of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 to self-monitor and report on compliance with the regulations.