Caring for the carers

Two new national services to support family carers have been launched by the Ministry of Health for delivery by not-for-profits SAMS (Standards and Monitoring Services), Parent to Parent, and Carers New Zealand.

The services, developed by carers for carers, will assist people who support people with disabilities nationwide.

SAMS’ and Parent to Parent’s Care Matters learning and wellbeing service is available online at with support from a free phone service. The website, which goes live on November 6, pulls together clear, constructive, up-to-date information to assist carers, while the learning and training will be available face-to-face and online. The resources will cater to people who have visual impairments and be accessible via online desktop and mobile devices.

The Care Matters freephone 0508 236 236,  operated by Parent to Parent,  will connect callers to its existing network of local knowledge and support, and its facilitators keen to ensure face-to-face learning opportunities relevant to local interests and needs. Many are carers who have walked in the same shoes.

Care Matters will equip carers to not just obtain information/skills that assist today and make it easier to navigate the current system, but help carers use a more flexible approach to supports and services.  Resources and face-to-face learning opportunities provide carers with the opportunity to examine possibilities, consider alternatives, be strategic, and have a say.

The freephone will also direct carers to sources of respite care at Carers NZ’s new National Relief Care Matching Service. Often family carers struggle to find relief carers so they can have time out. This service matches disabled people and family carers with relief carers in their area, online and through its 0800 777 797 number. Carers NZ has partnered with MyCare Ltd to provide free access to a national pool of relief carer profiles, connecting people with disabilities and their families with people and services whose skills match their relief care needs.

Both services are now live and can be accessed at no cost via Needs Assessment and Service Coordination services (NASCs).


SAMS is as 35-year-old service well known in New Zealand, Australia, and North America for its pioneering work at the forefront of developing carer/family education and leadership. At grass roots level it has annual face-to-face contact with more than 700 carers in New Zealand. Information about SAMS is on

Parent to Parent

Parent to Parent is a 32-year-old organisation involved with the day-to-day support of family/whanau, while also understanding and influencing current and emerging policies that impact on carers. It has 600 volunteer parents/carers providing peer support nationwide, researchers providing information, and workshops for families of people with disabilities. Information about Parent to Parent is on

Carers NZ

Carers NZ is New Zealand’s peak body supporting family carers of all ages. It acts as the ongoing Secretariat for the NZ Carers Alliance of more than 45 national not-for-profits, including SAMS and Parent to Parent. Information about Carers NZ is on

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