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See below for a list of common questions and answers. If you need further help please give us a call on 0800 472 637.

If I have custody and guardianship can I get financial help to raise these children?

Yes, it is called the Unsupported Child's Benefit (UCB) available from WINZ. You will have to satisfy them that you have the children because of a family breakdown. In some cases the decision from Work and Income is reviewable and may benefit from the presentation of further evidence to justify a benefit being granted in your case.

What if we do not have custody but are raising the children because parents can not or will not?

You can still apply for the UCB. WINZ will want proof of a family breakdown and you must be going to look after the children for the next 12 months.

We are looking after our Moko (grandchildren) because this is our culture, can we get the UCB?

No, if this is your wish to raise the grandchild because of your culture, you do so willingly. To qualify for the UCB you would need to demonstrate there has been a family breakdown and that you are caring for the child for more than 12 months.

Is the Unsupported Child Benefit asset tested?

No, it is not.

The children are under Oranga Tamariki custody but how do I support them financially?

Speak to your social worker about board payments and other extras.

I have been turned down by WINZ for the Unsupported Child Benefit yet I have custody of my grandchild.

Ask for a review and the reasons why you were turned down. Phone the CAB and ask for the name of a WINZ advocate in your area.

My grandchild has special needs, Can I get extra help?

Yes, get a letter from your Doctor and apply to WINZ for a "Disability Allowance".

I need some help with pre-school care, can I get help?

In some cases. If you receive the UCB, then ask your WINZ case worker about the OSCAR programme.

How do I get a Community Services card for my grandchild?

If you are on any kind of benefit from WINZ you will get this card. If you are in receipt of the UCB then this should have happened automatically.

How do you get Legal Aid?

You ask your lawyer to apply for you. You will have to pay the first $50.

I have a home and low income, can I get legal aid?

Yes, provided you are under the required income, you can get Legal Aid - but be warned, they will place a caveat upon your home for this amount.

If a caveat is placed upon my home when does it get paid back?

When the home is sold, or upon your death.

We are getting abusive phone calls from the parent, what can we do?

Either change your phone number to a confidential one or get caller ID and vet the incoming calls.

My daughter attacked me in the home on an access visit, what should I have done?

Phone the Police immediately and get them to notify your social worker if you have one. Press charges against her. Notify the lawyer for the child if you have one also. Notify Oranga Tamariki call centre if after hours or on weekend, and ask them to record your phone call.

We are being intimidated down the road from supervised access by the parents?

Tell the Access Centre supervisor and ask them to contact your social worker. Drive with your doors locked. Tell Counsel for Child also.

How do we prove that we are being harassed by the parents?

Diary note everything that happens giving time and date. If there are any witnesses, get them to do the same. Notify social worker and Counsel for Child.

The parents are arriving drugged up to the eyeballs to take the children out on their access, what should we do?

Under no circumstances let them go. Diary it and call the Oranga Tamariki call centre immediately to notify them. Ask the call centre to record your call. Then on the first working day, notify your social worker and Counsel for child.

We have custody, no Oranga Tamariki involvement, and our P addicted daughter tells us she has been clean for 2 weeks and wants her child back. What should we do?

Do not agree to this, it is far too soon. Ask your daughter to get a drug test on a regular basis, and then after a substantial period of time you will consider the request. Caution is needed here.

My grandchildren are acting up at school... Help!

Ask your school Principal to call in Special Education Services (SES) to get the children assessed.

Grandchild under Oranga Tamariki is displaying bizarre behaviour in the home?

Talk to your social worker and ask her to get the child seen by Specialty Services, this will be at no cost to you.

I have noticed bruising on my grandchildren. My daughter is a solo Mum, what should I do?

Step in alongside her to see what you can do to help her out. It is not easy being a solo parent. Do everything in your power to help resolve the situation. If you meet opposition, as a last resort contact Oranga Tamariki. In these matters it is better if the family can resolve this as this will cause less friction later on. But sometimes Oranga Tamariki has to be the way to go especially if there is danger for the children and if drugs are involved.

I need some training for myself in dealing with these children, where can I go?

Telephone your local Oranga Tamariki office and ask for the Caregiver Liaison Social Worker. They should be able to tell you about courses that are run by them for caregivers and you can attend these even if your grandchildren are not under Oranga Tamariki.

I have 2 severely special needs children, and I need help?

Telephone Disability Services, Wilson Home or Parent to Parent. All can help and if not will put you in touch with someone who can.

What is the telephone number of the Oranga Tamariki call centre?

0508 FAMILY or 0508 326 459

We have under 5s who are under the care of Oranga Tamariki. We, being older, have lost touch with today's teaching. Where can we get help?

There are many parenting courses run throughout NZ: Barnardos, Plunket, The Parenting Place, Family Services. All should be able to steer you in the right direction. Alternatively, you can attend free caregiver courses run throughout NZ

Sadly, my partner and I have decided to separate - most probably due to the stress in our role as a GRG. We have three grandchildren with us, and they will be staying with me. Does my partner still have to support them too?

It is our understanding that your partner would not need to support the 3 grandchildren. The parent(s) of these children should be paying child support to you or IRD if you are in receipt of the Unsupported Child Benefit and this will continue after you separate. Unless of course, the children have been adopted, by you both.

I am named on the Parenting Orders but my partner is not, I am wondering should I die, would my partner automatically take over the children?

Not necessarily, so the parent/s could use this opportunity to go back to Court and go for custody/parenting orders. Therefore it would be would be wise to speak to a Family Court Lawyer about this situation. You have the opportunity to do Testimonial Guardianship in your will naming your partner, but this also could possibly be contested.

I am coming off the DPB, can I now get the UCB?

Yes you should be able to, talk to your W & I case manager beforehand so this all falls into place at the same time. If you are unsure of anything of a legal nature you should consult a Family Court Lawyer or make an appointment with your local community law office and arrange a 20 minute free consultation for advice.