You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
The Government has already paid nearly $3 million for the education costs of estranged children, and applications for future payments close next week.
People caring for other people's children have until next Friday to apply for Work and Income New Zealand's (Winz) school and year start-up payment to help with preschool and school costs, such as clothing, school fees and stationery.
A Social Development spokesman said 5978 grants - $2.96 million - had been paid to New Zealand carers since applications opened on January 13.
In the Southern region, 465 grants worth $212,250 had been paid, he said.
The grants were open to carers getting the orphan's or unsupported child's benefits.
The payments were dependent on the child's age and ranged between $250 and $400 this year, and between $400 and $550 next year and beyond.
Application forms are available at Winz offices and www.workandincome.govt.nz.