From the CEO’S desk – Linda’s monthly message

It’s now a month since all the changes in our sector were announced.

Talking to our members out in the community, I’ve been reminded how confusing these changes can be for people who don’t deal with Government on a daily basis.

The new organisations

Just to clarify – the new Government organisation which has taken over from Child, Youth and Family is called Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Vulnerable Children. Read more about the changes here. It replaces CYF – but is committed to a new, child focused way of working, designed to improve outcomes for it’s most important clients, the children and young people in care.

There is another organisation we’ve been telling you about: VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. This is a separate, independent and totally new organisation – designed to connect care experienced children and young people, and help advocate on their behalf. You can read more about VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai here.

Our CEO Linda Surtees (centre) with Fostering Kids NZ team members Rob Surtees and Sally Moffatt at the launch of VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai

I was privileged to attend the launch of both Oranga Tamariki and VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. We are committed to working with everyone involved to help amplify the voices of children and young people – and improve their lives in care.

I know, some of you are weary about the promises you’ve heard that these new organisations will change outcomes for children in care. For those of us who’ve been working in the sector for a long time, it can be hard to keep the faith. But I believe we, as caregivers, have a responsibility to give the new Ministry every opportunity we can to succeed. This is a once in a generation opportunity for renewal – but it will take support from all of us.

We know – changes aren’t happening quickly enough for any of us working on the coal face – but we are starting to see positive signs. Rest assured we are working closely with officials in Oranga Tamariki, holding them to account and lobbying on your behalf. While it is great to see the child’s voice is paramount, it is very important that we ensure the care families voice is also heard.

The launch of a new training programme

One of the things members often tell us is that you are keen to get a better understanding of what triggers negative behaviours in our children and how to manage them. This month, we’re piloting a new training programme for caregivers in the Manawatu region – which we hope will help provide better behaviour and relationship management tools.

Sally Moffatt and Rob Surtees are delivering the programme – which focuses on helping caregivers understand what might be going on for a child or young person who is acting out. Understanding what is behind the behaviour is the first step in helping them modify that behaviour.

We’re excited to get feedback from caregivers who take part in the pilot, and we’ll keep you informed of developments.

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