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Barnardos Welcomes Government Social Wellbeing Announcement Putting People At The Centre

Barnardos is today welcoming the Minister of Social Development’s announcement of a new ‘social wellbeing approach’.

Speaking from the official launch of the new approach in Tamaki Makaurau today, Barnardos’ Chief Executive Mike Munnelly says that Barnardos is pleased to see the Government’s ongoing commitment to putting people’s wellbeing at the heart of its policies. Barnardos believes that the newly announced social wellbeing approach can be one factor in creating system settings to support children, families and whānau outcomes, at a time when significant progress needs to be made to address interconnected, intergenerational challenges.

Mr Munnelly says “Barnardos is Aotearoa’s national children’s charitable NGO, working every day towards our vision of ‘An Aotearoa where every child shines bright.’ Each year we work with around 50,000 children and young people, and their families and whānau. We know from the work that we do that taking a holistic, people-centred approach to supporting wellbeing is essential. So, we hope that this new approach announced by Government can support positive, long-term change in the lives of all of Aotearoa’s children, families and whānau, but espeically those who need it most.”

Mr Munnelly says that there is a lot that the Government needs to do to deliver on its commitments under the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, in particular significantly reducing family poverty and income inequality, addressing family violence and child abuse, and supporting positive mental health outcomes for children and young people. However, he says that Barnardos is hopeful that the social wellbeing approach, grounded in data and evidence, and focusing on the inherrent human dignity of all people, will support these outcomes. Mr Munnelly says that Barnardos is “pleased to hear the Minister of Social Development, Hon Carmel Sepuloni focusing today in her comments on the importance of listening to the lived experiences of people. We urge government to always include hearing the voices of children, young people, families and whānau to help shaping policy and services in ways that reflect what they say they need and the things that will work for them.”

Mr Munnelly says that Barnardos is also welcoming Minister Sepuloni’s emphasis on NGO social services as crucial part of New Zealand’s social sector. He says that the NGO social sector needs to be better supported, so it can continue its work effectively and sustainably.

“Every day organisations like Barnardos and our colleagues in other NGO social service organisations are working locally in our communities, supporting children, young people, families and whānau through some of the toughest times in their lives. The reality is that this part of the social sector needs to be more fairly funded to do this work. Together with others such as Social Service Providers Aotearoa, Barnardos has been calling for the current underfunding of NGO social services to be addressed in this year’s Wellbeing Budget. We are hopeful that this announcement today of the social wellbeing approach paves the way for this funding gap to be significantly closed”, Mr Munnelly says.

Mr Munnelly says that Barnardos is looking forward to working with the newly named Social Wellbeing Agency, announced by Minister Sepuloni today.

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