The idea of the home for life initiative is to transition children from the care of  The Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki (‘the Ministry’) to a permanent home. 

When a child is in the care of the Ministry, they will usually have Family Court orders granting them custody. The child will then be placed in foster care if it is not safe or appropriate for them to return home. If it does not seem likely that the child will ever be able to return home, the Ministry may look to find the child a permanent ‘home for life’ with foster carers. Often, this placement will be with a member of the child’s wider family group such as a grandparent. See Grandparents Raising Grandchildren – Legal Issues for further information.   

The home for life process is a legal matter. It involves applications being made to the Court to discharge the Ministry’s orders and apply for parenting and guardianship orders under the Care of Children Act. The Ministry, as well as the child’s parents and legal guardians, will be involved in the proceedings. 

Under the home for life package, the Ministry offers ongoing support and a degree of financial assistance, including the payment of certain legal costs.

If you are considering the home for life process, it is important to get legal advice to ensure you understand the situation. Whilst it has the major benefit of adding permanence to your family, it also impacts on your ability to seek certain orders for services and support from the Ministry in the future. Every family is different, and whether it will suit your particular circumstances is something that needs to be considered.  

More information can be found on the Ministry’s website: http://www.cyf.govt.nz/info-for-caregivers/home-for-life/home-for-life.html

If you would like any further advice or assistance with the home for life process, please do not hesitate to contact our Wellington based family lawyers Debbie Dunbar, email debbie.dunbar@morrisonkent.com, phone (04) 495 9940 or Maretta Twentyman, email maretta.twentyman@morrisonkent.com, phone (04) 495 8918.

Further information can be found here: