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Contract Signing Signals Major Shift For Maori

May 21 2002
Ngati Ranginui Iwi

The social services arm of the Ngati Ranginui Iwi has won a major government contract involving significant funding that will allow the Iwi to take custody of children who are on court order and determine where the children are placed.

The contract is the first to be won by a Maori provider or Iwi in the area of care and protection of children. The signing will take place on Friday May 24 in Tauranga and will involve the Chief Executive of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, Jackie Pivac and the Iwi.

Team Leader of Iwi Social Services Te Miringa Rawiri says the focus will be to ensure children of the Ngati Ranginui Iwi and other Maori who choose to use their services will be placed with blood relatives.

"We want to end the situation where children are placed with many different strangers throughout their childhood. Our focus will be to place them with kin to try to create some permanency in their lives," she says.

Rawiri says the contract allows for the Iwi to manage the placement of up to 50 children in the first three years. The children will be in the care of the convenor of Ngati Ranginui Iwi Social Services rather than the Chief Executive of Child, Youth and Family.

"This is a major breakthrough for Maori. We have worked very hard to show the government what we are capable of and they have responded. Our hope is that we can be a model for how other Iwi can use the existing legislation and relationships with Government to bring about a more sustainable outcome for our mokopuna," she says.

Child, Youth and Family Chief Executive Jackie Pivac says she welcomes this new partnership agreement.

"Ngati Ranginui have been providing social work and care services to children and young people in the custody of the Department for some time. This contract signals Child, Youth and Family's confidence in the professionalism of the services they offer."

Child, Youth and Family National Manager Contracts, David Nicholson, says this contract focuses on the timely achievement of permanent outcomes for children and young people in care.

"The importance of placing children safely with kin caregivers and the ability to provide support to those arrangements is a strength that Ngati Ranginui Iwi Social Services brings."

"The contract has rigorous requirements around the approval of caregivers and all aspects of the social work and support services required. Child, Youth and Family, and Ngati Ranginui will monitor progress on a monthly basis," says Mr Nicholson.

Ngati Ranginui Iwi Social Services was formally formed in 1996 with two staff. Since that time it has grown to a staff of 22 offering services to children in need. The service is recognised nationally for its innovation, drive and professionalism.



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