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Children’s Teams Can Transform the Way We Protect Children

22 May 2014


Children’s Teams Can Transform the Way We Protect Children

Anthea Simcock, Chief Executive Officer of leading child abuse prevention organisation Child Matters, applauds Social Development minister Paula Bennett’s announcement of eight new Children’s Teams today, as they “provide an opportunity to transform the way we protect children in New Zealand”.

The new Children’s Teams will be made up of multi-disciplinary professionals from health, education, iwi, justice, NGOs and social service sectors, who together will provide an intensive child-centred family support service. This will include providing advice, working alongside families to create coordinated plans of support, and will pave the way to make access to services more accessible.

Mrs Simcock believes the collaborative expertise within the Children’s Teams will provide better care for children and families who need support but are not currently needing intensive Child Youth and Family services. “Often a child’s behaviour is a flag if there are issues within the family,” says Mrs Simcock. “The concept of the Children’s Team allows input from a variety of perspectives to better understand the situation and the needs of the child and the family, and to find the right help.”

While the Children’s Teams will create a more robust process to support children and families, Mrs Simcock believes the implementation process will require some time and planning. Each town will decide how the Children’s Team concept will work to best meet the needs of the local community. Agencies and professionals in the community will also need to work together more collaboratively than they have done, which will require a deeper understanding and trust of other sectors and services.

“Agencies and sectors who have historically worked relatively in isolation will be required to work more collaboratively in the Children’s Teams,” says Mrs Simcock. “To work together effectively individuals in all the teams will need to understand and trust the expertise that each other can offer.”


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