Gráinne's update - September
National Social Workers' Day
It’s hard to believe we are in September already, as we race toward Christmas at what feels like lightning speed.
This month we celebrate National Social Workers’ Day and I want to take this opportunity to express my admiration and gratitude for the tremendous job that social workers do across the nation.
They provide a vital service to vulnerable members of our community, and I hope you can take a moment to celebrate their contribution this week. It’s often complex and challenging work, but also so rewarding and important.
Priorities for our next 12 months
Over the next 12 months, as we continue to shape Oranga Tamariki into the best possible organisation to serve our tamariki and whānau we will focus on three priorities:
- Placements: Increase places for children and young people to be when home’s not right.
- Practice: Lead a consistent and high-quality approach to social work practice that is child-centred, trauma-informed and effective for Māori as well as other cultures.
- Partnership: Work with partners across New Zealand, including iwi and NGOs, in new ways to build stronger services for our children and young people.
Increase placements for children and young people
Tamariki have told me that moving placements can have a devastating impact on their wellbeing, so we need to change our ways of working to find the right family situation as early as possible.
We want to better support caregivers and provide them with the right training. We're piloting a 24hr caregiver support hotline, so if trouble arises caregivers have immediate access to someone who can help.
Over the next 12 months, we'll be stepping up our recruitment drive for general caregivers - and we'll make sure we have the right support in place first.
We're continuing our work with iwi to identify and support potential whānau caregivers so that where possible, tamariki can retain their connection with their whānau, hapū and iwi.
Lead a consistent and high-quality approach to social work practice
We want to ensure that we have a social work practice framework that supports social workers to provide the best possible care for tamariki.
The practice framework will empower them in their work rather than putting obstacles in their path. We are looking at everything that we do and asking “how does this help tamariki?”
This is the question that underpins our new direction. Only by putting the child at the centre of every decision we make will we be able to make a radical change to the way young people experience our organisation. They have told us things need to change, and we have listened.
Work with partners across New Zealand
We will work with our community partners to build solid, enduring relationships.
Tamariki and rangitahi live in communities, not in organisations. New Zealanders have the generosity of spirit and the determination to give our children and young people the world-class system they deserve.
With support from communities, we will strive to improve outcomes for our most vulnerable children and young people.
The next year will go by quickly, but we know that by keeping our focus on the three P’s – Placements, Practice and Partnership – we will have an organisation that will better meet the needs of tamariki and whānau. One that New Zealanders can all be proud of.