A document to own and grow
As a new caregiver with Oranga Tamariki, Te Aroha is one of the first in Te Tai Tokerau to receive a Caregiver Support Plan - introduced as part of the National Care Standards in July this year.
Although the Whangarei caregiver is no newbie to care, with her own mother caring for many children over the years, Te Aroha says she really appreciates the support she’s received so far.
Becoming a caregiver
The decision to become a caregiver came naturally to Te Aroha after seeing the difference her mother had made in touching the lives of so many.
She says she’s met many who have come from homes with little love where the hugs, the praises and the joys are not there.
“To start the morning with a wonderful karakia and waiata – for a loving spirit of the day – is our way of teaching caring for ourselves and each other,” she says.
Supported to meet the needs of child
When Te Aroha was first asked to care for a boy with mild autism, she immediately said ‘yes’.
With her caregiver social worker, Rachel, and the child’s social worker, Tonia, they came together to develop Te Aroha’s Caregiver Support Plan to enable her to meet the needs of this young boy.
Creating the Plan
Rachel says not only does it mean we’re meeting the needs of the child, but we're also ensuring we take care of our caregivers.
“It was important that we all sat down together - along with the child’s All About Me Plan - and developed this [the Caregiver support Plan] which is now something for Te Aroha to own,” she says.
Meeting the specific needs
Tonia says what’s great, is that the Caregiver Support Plan identifies if a child has specific needs, how the caregiver can access learning to meet those needs, and the supports to make it happen.
For this young boy, it was important that Te Aroha had access to learning about autism, how to help him settled, develop and grow; and how to best manage and understand his behaviours.
Te Aroha says if education is there, she will always grasp at the opportunity as you can never stop educating yourself in life.
Maintaining the plan
Both documents [the Caregiver Support Plan and the child’s All About Me Plan] are live documents explains Tonia - “so we will continue to work on and update them as we go.”
"There are identified supports in there for Te Aroha, so she knows who she can go to if something happens."
Working together on the same plan
“What’s great is that we are all working together - brought onto the same page - and we know what our tasks are as part of the plan,” says Tonia
“When we are all on the same waka and working transparently it’s amazing what we can do,” says Rachel.
“I just hope that for Te Aroha, this can be a document for her to own and that she can continue to grow it on her terms with my support along the way.”