Save the Children and Barnardos have partnered to create a new service, designed to help our most disadvantaged, hardest to reach families.
Called Te Korowai Mokopuna, we’ve established four family centres in South Auckland that sit alongside Barnardos’ early childhood centres. These ‘one stop shops’ enables families to access the support they need, in one easy to reach place within their own community.
Many families facing severe and complex family situations struggle to access the social services already available. They are less likely to trust service providers. In fact the ‘Growing up in New Zealand’ 2015 report highlighted that for those families whose toddlers were considered most at risk, only 1 in 5 accessed social support services in the child’s first 1000 days of life.
Our Kaimanaaki whanau workers build trust in communities, work with families to connect them with services that already exist, and create a shared plan of action to support families to overcome issues that affect their wellbeing and their children’s.
The support ranges from budgeting advice, domestic violence services, parenting and nutritional advice and employment assistance through to access to early childhood education and legal aid services.
So far we’ve helped 300 families across four centres.
I remember one man telling me how grateful he was that I had referred him to the Incredible Years parenting programme. He said that it was helping him to be a good father. I remember his words: ‘My father was always strict and used to give me a hiding, but now I am learning to be patient with my boy, be calm and use a lot of positive statements. I do not want to be like my father.’ I felt very touched by that.Kaimanaaki whanau worker
I saw how hard life was for the family. The house was cold and mouldy; cockroaches were damaging appliances like the washing machine, so they were always breaking down… the children had little in the way of routines, boundaries and opportunities to socialise with others.Whanau worker
It didn’t take the whanau worker long to make a difference for this family. Setting up some time with a budgeting adviser, developing meal plans and helping establish routines around the home have all helped improve the day to day reality for this mother and her children.
I feel happy and good because people have helped me. Being part of Te Korowai Mokopuna has taught me to do things for myself.Mother
If we can secure enough funding, our vision is to extend the programme to six centres across the country by the end of 2016, with a view to expanding to 10 centres by the end of 2018. If we can achieve this we will be able to reach approximately 1,500 of our most vulnerable children every year.
If families are able to reach a place where they feel sufficiently resourced to help other families in greater need, the ripple effect will occur and this can only benefit New Zealand as a whole.Programme coordinator