Story: Children’s homes and fostering

Page 3. Residential homes for children and young people, 21st century

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Although residential institutions are no longer seen as appropriate for most children needing care outside the family home, there are still state and charitable homes for children and adolescents in the 21st century. They are known as residential homes or residences. 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 residences

Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children runs four care and protection residences for children aged 12 to 16 requiring short-term care and protection while arrangements are made for them to receive care in a family home. These residences are in South Auckland, Lower Hutt, Christchurch and Dunedin. Younger children are cared for by foster families. In 2017 less than 1% of children in out-of-home placements lived in these residences. Most children in care are with family members, in foster care, in a Oranga Tamariki family home or in other supported accommodation.

The residences cater for children and young people who cannot be placed in foster care (sometimes for behavioural reasons), who commit low-level criminal offences or who participate in harmful activities like drug-taking.

Care as needed 

Each of the four Oranga Tamariki 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. 

Oranga Tamariki also runs four youth-justice residences with 136 beds in total for young people aged 14 to 16 who have been charged with an offence, are on remand or have been given a youth justice residence sentence by the Youth Court. These are in Auckland, Rotorua, Palmerston North and Christchurch. In 2017 there were 889 admissions to youth justice residences, down from 1,010 in 2015.

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 Centre in Governors Bay near Lyttelton provides short-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 original historic house was damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and had to be demolished. A new children's home opened in July 2015 on the same site following a fundraising campaign that raised $4 million. 

Revolving stay 

In 2017–18, 494 children from 298 families were cared for at the Chomondeley Children’s Centre. It provided 4,465 nights of care. 

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.

The Hohepa Trust in Hawke’s Bay has family-style homes and schooling for children with intellectual disabilities.

How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Children’s homes and fostering - Residential homes for children and young people, 21st century', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 September 2021)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 21 Dec 2018