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Essential Social Services At Risk

MEDIA RELEASE / Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers

For immediate release, 21 October 2008

Poor Communication Of New Funding Model Should Not Put Essential Social Services At Risk

The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) is concerned that the funding model being rolled out this year as a first step to fully funding essential child, youth and family focused services may not have been fully communicated to the social services sector.

"When this new model, known as Pathway to Partnership, was announced at the beginning of 2008 it was widely welcomed as an overdue commitment to funding essential social services that the government itself cannot provide. The expectations raised were significant and it is disappointing to see an organisation such as Children's Health Camps - Te Puna Whaiora with its back to the wall due to a funding shortfall so early in the process," says Rose Henderson, ANZASW President.

"ANZASW understands the Ministry of Social Development has stated that it is giving priority to smaller essential services across the board who are currently being funded at a lower level, but questions whether this was sufficiently communicated to all NGOs, at all levels of size and performance".

"The Children's Health Camps are an obvious candidate to be viewed as part of an essential infrastructure of social services at a national level. Given their funding shortfall is so serious that the closure of some camps is being considered this week, with the inevitable loss of services to children and families and the probable loss of positions for highly skilled social workers, we question whether their funding needs are able to be adequately met under the Pathway to Partnership model or if there is a need to consider an alternative way forward," says Rose Henderson.

"We commend the government for the steps being taken to fully fund essential social services and would expect these to be confirmed after this year's Election and continued under the next government. At this stage it seems wasteful not to support adequate investment in specific assets such as the Children's Health Camps, particularly as we know that the pressures and demand for social services will only increase in times of economic hardship".


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