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Priority areas for Social Workers in Schools

Government is targeting particular priority areas with the extension to the social workers in schools programme announced in the Budget.

Having at least one social worker in every NZ school is a priority for Government, the Minister of Social Services, Work and Income, Roger Sowry announced today.

The Government announced in May that, as part of its Strengthening Families Strategy, it would make $10 million available over the next 3 years to expand Social Workers in Schools Programme.

Twelve social workers are already working in clusters of schools in the East Coast, Northland, Porirua and Hutt Valley areas as part of the trial programme which is being expanded.

The extra funding will mean 55 social workers can move into primary and intermediate schools in the 29 priority regions across the country.

The Programme has been developed in partnership with the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency, the Ministeries of Education, Health, Maori Development (Te Puni Kokiri), Pacific Island Affairs, and the Health Funding Authority

“Social Workers in Schools is an early intervention scheme, linked to the Strengthening Families plan to improve the co-ordination and delivery of services to at-risk children and families,” said Mr Sowry.

“Over the next week, schools rated as being most in need in priority regions, will receive information about the programme.

“Schools are ideal places for identifying and addressing risk factors before they become major problems.

"These social workers will work closely with teachers, health workers and other groups to give kids the best possible chance to learn,” he said.

"Plus it will leave teachers free to do what they do best – to teach kids, rather than having to deal with a range of problems the children bring through the school gate."

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Agency will contract with providers to employ the social workers and manage the service.

Social workers will work with clusters of schools, who will be required to contribute $4000 per cluster, and CYPFA will be contributing $55-$60,000 per worker per annum.

“The Government hopes to have schools and service providers selected by the end of the year and have social workers up and running in schools during the first term of the new school year,” said the Ministers.

ENDS

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