Story: Children’s homes and fostering

Page 3. Residential homes for children, early 2000s

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Though institutions are no longer seen as appropriate for most children needing care outside the family home, they still have their place in the 2000s. They are known as residential homes. Children living in these homes continue to do everyday things like go to school, play sport and enjoy leisure activities in the wider community.

Government homes

Child, Youth and Family (CYF) runs four care and protection residences with 48 beds in total for children in CYF custody aged 12 to 16 needing care and protection in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin – younger children are cared for by foster families. The residences cater for children and young people who cannot be placed in foster care (often for behavioural reasons), who commit low-level criminal offences or who participate in harmful activities like drug taking. In 2008 only 1% of children in CYF placements lived in these residences.

Care as needed 

Each of the four CYF care and protection residences has a school, which all resident children and young people have to attend. Medical care and mental health services are available as needed. 

CYF also runs four youth-justice residences with 140 beds in total for young people aged 14 to 16 who have committed criminal offences. They are in Auckland, Rotorua, Palmerston North and Christchurch.

Charitable social services

Charitable organisations run residential homes for children with the help of government funding and public donations. The Cholmondeley (pronounced ‘chumley’) Children’s Home in Governors Bay near Lyttelton provides short- and long-term care for up to 28 children aged 3 to 12. It was purpose-built as a children’s home by wealthy farmer Heber Cholmondeley and opened in 1925. The Dingwall Trust has run a home for children up to 17 years old in Papatoetoe since 1930. Like Cholmondeley, it was built at the behest of an individual, David Dingwall.

Revolving stay 

In 2009, 290 children were cared for at the Chomondeley Children’s Home. This translated into 6,588 bed nights. Over half were for short-term respite stays (for example, for a weekend). These children were admitted 900 times, which means that many came back throughout the year. 

Waikura House in Kaiapoi is run by Māori providers Ōtautahi Social Services Trust. Short-term care is provided for children up to 16 years old. The Hohepa Trust in Hawke’s Bay has family-style homes for children with intellectual disabilities on the Hohepa farm sites.

How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Children’s homes and fostering - Residential homes for children, early 2000s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 November 2017)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 5 May 2011