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First child protection multi-agency centre celebrates 10 yrs

First child protection multi-agency centre celebrates a decade's work

November 27, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of Puawaitahi, Auckland City District's multi-agency, one-service centre for investigating alleged abuse of children and young people.

Police Minister Anne Tolley will attend celebrations at the centre at 99 Grafton Rd between 9am and 11am tomorrow, during which time there will be a blessing and unveiling of a plaque followed by speeches by the Minister, District Commander Mike Clement and Clinical Director Dr Patrick Kelly.

Aside from its investigative role, Puawaitahi was also established to ensure that victims of abuse - and their families - could easily access the best possible services to help with treatment after abuse.

The Centre houses specialist child abuse investigation professionals together under one roof, enabling them to work more closely and communicate more effectively with eachother to streamline their processes and reduce delays for clients.

The concept of Puawaitahi derived initially from the systems and structures of several successful overseas models, referred to as child or family advocacy centres, in the USA particularly.

The district's Child Protection Team, Starship National Children's Hospital and Child Youth and Family worked closely together - with the Auckland District Health Board, Starship Foundation and the wider Auckland community - to develop Puawaitahi.

It took four years to establish from the original concept to when its doors were opened. Since then it's dealt with 3,000 children and seen some of the best and worst of human nature.

Puawaitahi's five key components are:

1. Specialist child assessment/investigation services of Child Youth and Family
2. Health
3. Police
4. Mental health/therapeutic services
5. Prosecution.

As a result of bringing these components together, Puawaitahi:

• provides a 'one stop shop' for assessing and treating children and young people who are thought to have experienced abuse or neglect
• provides co-ordinated case management and reduces the risk that children and young people will 'fall through the gaps'
• improves inter-sectoral communication and co-operation
• reduces inefficiencies, duplications and omissions in service provision for abused and neglected children and young people
• improves linkages to community providers of therapeutic services.

ENDS

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