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Child, Youth And Family Calls All Races And Creeds

Child, Youth And Family Calls All Races And Creeds

Child, Youth and Family is looking to widen its pool of foster carers.

The Department needs carers of all races and religions so it can make the best possible cultural match between children and families.

As the country’s cultural diversity grows, CYF has sometimes found itself struggling to match children with families of similar cultural backgrounds.

“New Zealand is becoming a much more diverse country and our pool of caregivers needs to reflect that,” CYF National Manager Residences and Caregiver Services Iain Matheson says. ”We have children in our care from China, Holland, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Germany, almost every Pacific Island, and Korea – just to name a few.”

While all children have individual needs, these children may have particular issues around language, customs, identity and links with families and cultural groups. Religion also poses a challenge. The Department needs more Muslim caregivers – especially as New Zealand’s refugee population grows.

Foster Care Awareness Week begins on Saturday (Oct 26) and as at September 30 there were 4754 children and young people in care. CYF has 1265 family/whanau caregivers and 1744 non-family caregivers providing care on behalf of the Chief Executive of Child Youth and Family. Other caregivers provide care for children and young people through care providers such as Open Home Foundation, Barnardo's, Presbyterian Support, IHC or a number of iwi social services across the country.

“We are always keen to hear from people who are interested in becoming caregivers,” Mr Matheson said.

“If we really believe that the children and young people of New Zealand are our future, then the importance of the understanding, support and encouragement that caregivers can give to children in our communities cannot be over-stated. Caregivers from all cultural background with an interest in, and commitment to, teenagers are particularly sought, although we’re also looking for caregivers for babies and younger children too. We also need more caregivers who will be part of a general pool of caregivers and may provide care for emergencies or respite care”.

Mr Matheson said Foster Care Awareness Week was an opportunity to acknowledge the work of caregivers.

“Family/Whanau caregivers and non-family caregivers do an incredibly important job within, and on behalf of our, communities, and Child, Youth and Family cannot thank them enough.”

Children are placed in care when they are believed to be ‘at risk’ because they are experiencing (or likely to experience) physical or sexual abuse, violence or conflict at home, emotional or physical neglect, a lack of stable or adequate care, or are exhibiting challenging behaviour.

Caregivers are required to have police, medical and referee checks and social work interviews in their home. Caregivers receive support from their own Caregiver Liaison Social Worker, can participate in a national training programme, and of course receive board payments as well as assistance with costs for clothing, education and medical requirements.

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