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Child and Youth Advocate Announced for Manukau

Media Release
28 October 2003

Child and Youth Advocate Announced for Manukau

Children and young people in Manukau now have a new voice to help promote their needs and well-being. La-Vern King and Sandra Alofivae from the law firm King Alofivae Malosi have been awarded the city’s Manukau Advocate for Child and Youth contract.

This is an independent role, funded by Manukau City Council, Child, Youth and Family Services, the Ministry of Education, and Work and Income NZ. The Advocate will work with several government agencies to reach specific objectives all aimed at lifting the status and profile of children and young people in the city.

Law firm King Alofivae Malosi is well known in Manukau City for their child, youth and family work, not only in a legal arena but also in their respective communities.

King Alofivae Malosi started in February 1994. Eight years and eight children later, King Alofivae Malosi are a legal institution in Manukau. Located on the third floor of the AMI building in Manukau City, the firm has grown to employ seven lawyers and five support staff.

They are specialists in Family and Youth Court legal matters and are regularly appointed by judges to represent children in young people involved in either of these courts.

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says that the need to support and invest in children and young people is vital. "Good outcomes in childhood promote good outcomes throughout life. Children and young people are less able to advocate for the protection and promotion of their interests, rights and needs than adults.

"Advocacy on behalf of and in partnership with children and young people is a social investment in the future of Manukau. It acknowledges that children, as much as they are able to and encouraged to, can contribute to their own and their community’s development."

Advocate Sandra Alofivae says that she and La-verne were interested in the role because of their extensive experience at the grass roots level working with children, young people and their families in a number of different scenarios that required the protection and promotion of children and young people's rights.

"The contract enables us to work at a policy level with various agencies to ensure that the promotion and protection of children's rights are being given due weight and consideration. As lawyers over the last 13 years, we have noticed specific trends and patterns that cannot be ignored. We have experienced the problems first hand and now want to be in a position to assist in providing a range of solutions," says Ms Alofivae.

Manukau City Council will oversee the contract until such time as the position can be independent. Council’s role will then be to fund the position for three years and only facilitate the intersectoral agency Advisory Committee with the Manukau Advocate for Child and Youth.

ENDS

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