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New Organisation Confronts Family Poverty Crisis


For release: 18 July 2006

New Organisation to Confront Family Poverty Crisis


A new organisation, to be launched this week, aims to help families suffering poverty-induced crises to transform their lives.

Known as 'IOSIS Family Solutions', the new body has been formed by amalgamating several of the services run till now by separate units of Baptist Action.

With its headquarters in Manurewa, IOSIS will be active right across the Auckland region, although South Auckland will be a primary focus for many of its operations.

IOSIS is to be officially launched at a ceremony at Merivale Whanau Development Centre, Mangere on Thursday 20th July (details below).

"Rather than offering a piecemeal approach, we will now be bringing services together in ways that will have more impact for the families and individuals with whom we work," says IOSIS Chief Executive Officer, Ruby Duncan.

"Many of our poorer families face a multi-layered crisis of inter-generational poverty and unemployment.

"These conditions can only too easily spawn problems such as substance abuse, the breakdown of relationships and domestic violence, with children typically the most vulnerable of the victims.

"As last week's Ministry of Social Development Report on Living Standards made clear, the circumstances of many families have worsened in recent years. These findings corroborate the day-to-day experience of our own staff, working with disadvantaged people," she says.

The Ministry of Social Development report measured conditions recorded in 2004 and compared these with the equivalent figures from 2000. It showed two-thirds of beneficiary families with children to be facing severe or significant hardship, an increase of 20% over the four years.

Auckland families were found to be suffering hardship in disproportionate numbers, with 10% of all Aucklanders facing the worst category of 'severe hardship', along with 27% of Pacific Island families and 17% of Maori.

"When families suffer ongoing deprivation, it is easy for them to be sucked into a vortex where one problem just leads to another. Characteristically, it then takes a very broad mix of services, advice and resources to help them back onto their feet.

"By welding our services together, we will be able to work more effectively and efficiently on behalf of these families, while ensuring that a common culture and common values permeate everything we do," says Ruby Duncan.

Amongst the roles IOSIS has taken over, are those previously performed by Baptist Action Family Services, including social work, practical home support, counselling and care for abused and neglected children.

The Merivale Whanau Development Centre has also become part of the new organisation, providing a residential programme for women and children who have experienced abuse and trauma and offering social work support and counselling.

In addition, IOSIS has inherited most of the services formerly run by Baptist Action City Mission, including the budgeting service, which helps clients reduce debt levels and annually shaves hundreds of thousands of dollars off their total indebtedness.

Former City Mission clients will still be able to call on help from social workers, who will now be part of the integrated IOSIS team and equipped to provide a broader range of support.

Meanwhile, supermarket food vouchers are replacing the food parcels previously supplied to a minority of City Mission clients, whilst a chain of community shops will continue to operate across Auckland.

"The founding of IOSIS is not an exercise in restructuring or re-branding for its own sake. We chose the name because it refers to the legendary alchemic process by which base metal is transformed into gold.

"Our name reflects the goal of our new organisational structure, which is designed to help deprived families transform their lives into something far better than they have at present. We intend to do our best to live up to that name," says Ruby.

"Over many years, Baptist Action took on a wide variety of roles and responsibilities, often initially because no-one else was available to do them. In the process, we built up considerable expertise in areas as diverse as counselling, social work, and care for abused children or home support.

"It's now time to pull all this expertise together and do our utmost to end the crisis conditions faced by so many across Auckland," she adds.

IOSIS Family Solutions is a not-for-profit company that is wholly-owned by Baptist Action. Similar companies have been formed to carry on the agency's aged care and mental health services.


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