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New Children’s Teams announced

New Children’s Teams announced

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett today announced the locations of eight new Children’s Teams that are rolling out over the next year to help transform New Zealand’s child protection system.

Mrs Bennett says Children’s Teams are a key part of the Government’s Children’s Action Plan to reduce child abuse and neglect. They bring together professionals and NGOs from across all the sectors to address the needs of vulnerable children and their families.

Budget 2014 has committed $16.4 million to implementing the Children’s Action Plan. By the end of June 2015, eight new Children’s Teams will be established in:

· Horowhenua
· Marlborough
· Hamilton City
· Clendon/Manurewa/Papakura
· Gisborne
· Whakatane
· Whanganui
· Christchurch
“We know that no social worker, health professional, NGO or iwi can tackle our shocking rate of child abuse alone. This is a community-wide issue and to be successful, it will take a single-minded focus on the child and a different way of working,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Right now, Child, Youth and Family is the service carrying the lion’s share of responsibility for what happens to children and young people at risk of abuse and neglect. That’s because the public perception is that it’s a general child welfare agency, when it’s actually there to deal with the most serious cases.”

“Vulnerable children do need help but they don’t all need a statutory social work response. That’s where Children’s Teams, made up of a connected community of professionals and NGOs, whanau and concerned individuals, can make a real difference.”

“In a Children’s Team, a trained person brings together professionals from health, education, social service agencies and NGOs to work with the child and their family and whanau. The Teams focus on the individual child and make sure the right people are working together and the right services are being delivered to meet the needs of the child,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Last year, the Government took a bold step in setting up two demonstration Children’s Teams that are now supporting over 100 children in Whangarei and Rotorua. These two teams are already changing the lives of the children they support. The experience has provided us with the on-the-ground understanding to roll out further teams around the country.”

“This is about doing the best for all our children, right here and right now. It is about being open to new ways of working and supporting those who are vulnerable and breaking the cycle of abuse.

“Children’s Teams will ensure our children get all the support they need in their communities to thrive, achieve and belong,” said Mrs Bennett.


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