ANZASW supports greater equity for caregivers of children not in State care

ANZASW commends the Government for passing the Social Security (Financial Assistance for Caregivers) Amendment Bill into law. This Bill comes into effect today (1 July2021) and provides for greater financial support for caregivers of children and young people who are unable to live with their parents for various reasons outside of the State care system.

This Bill removes the requirement for the child to have to be living with the caregiver for more than a year. The change is significant and provides caregivers with financial assistance when they step in to take care of the child for a short period of time (for example, when there are care and protection concerns but Oranga Tamariki has not taken orders). This ensures family/whānau have the financial means to provide care for their children.

The payment of Christmas and Birthday allowances for caregivers receiving an Orphan’s Benefit or Unsupported Child Benefit is also introduced through the Bill.

These changes reduce the inequity between foster carers and family/whānau caregivers. It allows family/whānau to be financially supported to care for their own children. It is hoped this will continue to reduce the number of children needing to be in State care. This is a positive step towards family/whānau being empowered to care for their children without them entering State care.

ANZASW would also like to see the same services and support provided (where needed) to those children do not enter care.

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