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Childrens Health Camps Safe

Issued by the New Zealand Foundation for Child and Family Health and Development

An HFA Audit conducted this year of the seven children's health camps provides assurance that they are safe for children. They were also judged to provide a professional and effective service for children and their caregivers.

This report was not referred to in the New Zealand Herald story, which prefers instead to present a mix of half-fact, misinterpretation, and simply wrong statements. The story veers between school and camp, which are separate bodies, and does not present a true picture of the camp now and the relationship on-site of the camp and school today.

The Board of the children's health camps take any concerns very seriously. At Rotorua we commissioned a report from Winsborough Ltd and immediately took action to address the concerns identified. We postponed the Term 3 intake of children while changes were made and specific issues resolved. Opportunity was also taken for additional training. That has been done and the camp reopened to serve the children in great need of our programmes.

Any incident or allegation of sexual abuse, inappropriate touching and bullying are serious matters in any children's environment. Health camps are probably better placed than most to identify and address such matters. We recognise the limits to what we can do for any child and call in external specialist support if required.

We have stringent selection procedures for choosing childen to attend camp. In addition we pay careful attention to ensuring that the overall intake presents no known health and safety risk to any individual child. Should a child display inappropriate behaviour that is a risk to themselves or others their discharge is carefully managed and will include referral to relevant professionals in their local community.

Staff know our processes and the culture of care we must all display. Lapses from those standards are not tolerated. We are working with our major funding partner, the HFA, and other bodies including the Ministry of Education, to reconfigure our services to best meet the needs of children and to ensure we retain our hard-earned reputation for providing safe and effective interventions for children and their families. As part of this we continually update the skills of our staff to meet the increasingly complex needs of children.

The HFA notes that they have not received any complaints regarding childrens health camps certainly over the last 12 months.

We encourage any parent or caregiver, or any referrer, to visit any of our camps their child is attending or to contact the camp manager. We want to reiterate that invitation today. We are totally open in working with the families as well as the children.

For further information please contact:

Dr Fiona Inkpen, chief executive designate The NZ Foundation for Child and Family Health and Development Tel: 04 293 8747

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