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Social Workers in Schools Expansion begins

2 August 2004

Next phase of Social Workers in Schools Expansion begins

Low decile schools with primary and intermediate students that are interested in participating in the Social Worker in Schools (SWiS) programme are being invited to register their interest from today (2 August).

To be eligible, groups or clusters of schools should ideally be:

- Decile 1-3; although clusters of schools may be considered where at least 60% of the cluster roll is drawn from the decile 1-3 schools; - They should have a combined roll of all schools in the cluster of between 400 -700 for year 0-8 students; - and where each social worker will have a maximum of 4 urban or 3 rural schools, where the schools are situated reasonably close to each other.

SWiS is an early intervention and prevention service targeted at year 0-8 children and their families in low decile schools. Social workers are employed by service providers and are based within a cluster of schools. The services they provide are designed to give early help to children and families in order to prevent problems becoming more serious and difficult to overcome. The SWiS programme is led and financed by the Department of Child, Youth and Family in partnership with the Ministry of Education. This is the next phase in its expansion. The programme currently employs 85 social workers in 220 low decile schools across the country. During the next nine months a further 18 full-time equivalent social worker positions will be created and deployed within the schools whose applications prove successful.

In 2005 and 2006, the SWiS programme will continue to expand, with an additional 10 social worker positions to be established in each of those two years so that services will be delivered to around 330 schools by June 2007.

Child, Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson said: “A Government investment of $16.4 million over four years has made this expansion possible. The core values of the Social Workers in Schools Programme centre on early intervention and prevention rather than being crisis-focused. The programme is child-focused, family-centred, builds on child and family/whanau strengths and promotes well-being.”

-more follows- Veronica Bennett, Child, Youth and Family’s Senior Advisor for SWiS said: “A Massey University evaluation completed in 2002 showed that families that had been involved in the SWiS programme had seen a positive impact. There were improvements in children’s educational, health and social experiences and other considerable benefits in the families’ lives in areas such as parenting and managing resources.”

The expression of interest details for eligible clusters of schools will be notified by the Ministry of Education in its ‘Education Gazette’ on 2 and 16 August. Clusters will be required to submit their application by 15 September.

An inter-agency panel will then select the school clusters that are to be allocated one of the SWiS positions available for this fiscal year.

-ends-

For further information please contact Hilda Tait, Communications, Child, Youth and Family, on (04) 918 9115 or (029) 240 4098 or email hilda.tait001@cyf.govt.nz

Notes to Editors SWiS is led and financed by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services in partnership with the Ministry of Education, and with input from the Ministries of Social Development and Employment, Health, Maori Development (Te Puni Kokiri) and Pacific Island Affairs and the Health Funding Authority.

The programme began with a pilot in 1999 with 12 social workers in three areas: Northland, the East Coast and the Hutt/Porirua. From 2000 it moved into full operation.

The SWiS programme is contracted out to approved social service providers who employ and base a social worker in a group or cluster of schools. Clusters are formed to provide a roll base of between 400-700 students for each full time social worker.

One of the schools in the cluster provides a base office for the social worker. There is also space available at each of the other schools. Referrals are received for children and their families from within the schools in the clusters and then social workers work with the child and their family using strengths-based social work practice in order to draw on and build families’ resources and strengths.

ENDS


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