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Stand Children’s Services closing two residential villages

TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2018

Stand Children's Services is to close its Children’s Villages at Otaki and Roxburgh.

The organisation will continue to operate its Intensive Family Wraparound services in the central and southern regions, but the residential trauma focused treatment programme that is unique to Stand will stop at the end of June 2018. The Kidzacool service for grandparents raising grandchildren will also stop.

Stand Chief Executive Dr Fiona Inkpen says all children and families currently working with Stand will continue to receive the Intensive Family Wraparound Service.

“I want to reassure our children and families that Stand is not going anywhere. The villages are one aspect of the services we provide, and while it is immensely sad to close these two facilities, our priority remains supporting children and families to be safe, healthy and functioning well.”

Stand is the only residential treatment service of its kind for children aged 5 to 12 who need support to recover from trauma. The Children’s Villages combine care with residential and educational services in a safe and protective environment where children can heal and recover.

“Stand is working with the children most in need, and research shows the services are making a positive difference in the lives of vulnerable children.

Dr Inkpen says Stand hasn’t had a funding increase since 2009 and has been meeting operating shortfalls from its own reserves. Financial pressures increased last year following salary increases for the organisation’s staff.

“Pay rises were a priority for us to retain our specialist staff who support some of the country’s most vulnerable children and families, but had been among the lowest paid in the sector.

“Our people deserve recognition for their work, and we needed to recruit and keep quality staff who make a real difference in children’s lives.”

“Stand has been topping-up the shortfall in Government funding from its own funds for many years, using prudent financial management and the sale of unused land.

“Unfortunately our reserves are now used up and we have made the difficult decision after consulting with staff and the PSA to close two of our villages. Our hope is this will be a temporary measure and we will be working with Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Education to rebuild services in both regions,” says Dr Inkpen.

For the 2017/18 financial year, Stand and Oranga Tamariki split the operating costs caused by the increase 50/50, however Stand will need $3 million extra, an increase of 18 per cent, to cover the pay rises, compensate for 9 years of inflation, and added costs such as Kiwisaver, to keep the villages open.

Minister for Children Tracey Martin told Stand the Government recognised the value of the organisation and its work, but the funding required could not be secured at this time because of restrictions on the Government budget.

The closures mean 63 jobs will be lost across both regions and 380 children a year will miss out on the Children’s Village trauma focused treatment programme.

“We believe there is no alternative service providing the same support for these children. Our focus now will be rebuilding our service in these regions so children who have experienced significant childhood adversity can get the help they really need,” says Dr Inkpen.

“We are offering redundancy and staff can apply for any vacancy we have. Oranga Tamariki has also offered to identify employment opportunities for staff to consider.

“Our people understand the situation, and are being courageous in working to keep supporting children. Their main concern is for the children and they’re deeply sad that the work they do cannot continue. Naturally they are anxious about their own futures as well.

“Stand has evidence showing its services significantly improves the safety and wellbeing of children and we are one of the most cost effective in the sector. There is a real and important need for this treatment. We are not going away.”

About Stand Children’s Services Tu Maia Whanau
Stand is a proven and respected nationwide provider of a range of specialist services including intensive family wraparound, therapeutic social work, family therapy and childhood focused trauma treatment.

Stand works with children and families to break the cycle of harm so children and families are safe, can recover from past trauma, reconnect with each other, and create a positive future together.

In addition to Otaki and Roxburgh, Stand operates another five Children’s Villages across the country that are not affected by today’s announcement: Whangarei, Auckland, Rotorua, Gisborne and Christchurch.

Stand also provides Family Therapy Services in the Midland, Central and Christchurch Regions; Kidzacool respite services in school holidays to grandparents raising grandchildren and kin carers; and Social Worker in Schools Services in Christchurch, Northland and Gisborne.

A recent independent assessment of Stand’s services, conducted by TDB Advisory, nacan be found at https://www.tdb.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Stand-for-Children-Social-Investment-Review-Feb-17.pdf

More information on Stand Children's Services can be found at www.standforchildren.org.nz


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