Children and Families

 

"We do not need to accept that neglect and abuse of children is some natural phenomenon…it will, in my respectful view, be a test of our character as individual citizens, decent communities and as a Nation to make New Zealand the best country in which to raise children." (Judge Michael Brown, Ministerial Review of CYF, 2000)


It is the mission of NZCCSS to advocate for policies and services that build strong families and strong communities. Our work is informed by Christian social services who work with families every day.  Their services include general family support and early intervention activities, more targeted support services for at risk families and support for families in crisis.  NZCCSS monitors policy developments that impact on families, we regularly make submissions on new legislation and from time to time carry out research with our members on the best ways to support families in New Zealand.

 

Valuing Families

This paper summarises key issues that have emerged from the research undertaken by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) Child and Family Policy Group, in consultation with our members.The paper is about shaping the provision of services for children and families in a way that supports social transformation and better outcomes for families. [Read more...]

Care and Protection

The Child and Family Policy Group of Council have a long history of monitoring the impact of government policies on vulnerable children and young people, particularly the role of CYF. Many Christian social services provide support for families engaged with CYF.  Many of our providers are also funded by CYF to provide family support services.  With this in mind a number of reports have been written in the last ten years about changes in the structure of CYF, the effectiveness of the care and protection system, and what needs to be done to create a system that adequately protects our children. [Read more...]

Policy Monitoring

The well being of children and families is affected by the broader policy settings established by government.  While the Ministry of Social Development and Child Youth and Family are key government agencies for issues affecting families, the policies of a broader range of agencies also need to be monitored.  NZCCSS has written policy overview reports.  We also keep a more current overview of policy developments through our fortnightly blog Policy Watch, and through submissions to select committees. [Read more...]

Effective Practice

One of the strengths of NZCCSS is our ability to engage with government regarding our agencies’ experiences of working with families.  We use our practitioner base to inform our advocacy positions and carry out research with our member agencies and their clients to develop a contemporary understanding of ‘what works’.  [Read more...]

Grassroots Voices Research 2009

The Grassroots Voices research focussed on family and whanau experiences of receiving support services from Christian social services and government agencies. [Read more...]

Framework for Strong New Zealand Families and Whanau

This paper proposes a coordinated strategy that respects culture and diversity within families, creates a strong shared vision and goals for the well-being of all families, seeks clear political championing of the concepts, and provides a practical framework. for the implementation of this strategy. [Read more...]

 


Valuing Families

Christian social service providers have a significant commitment to providing social support services for families and continue to provide a wide range of activities. These services include general family support and early intervention activities, more targeted support services for at risk families and support for families in crisis. Many of our members focus on preventive services. A number of high profile international reports, and indeed our own domestic statistics, indicate that New Zealand is not faring well in supporting families, as evidenced by our relatively high rates of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence and persistent child poverty. This paper discusses issues related to families and poverty, the necessity for a overarching policy framework for families, which recognises the valuable role of prevention and the critical role that workforce development plays.

Read the Valuing Families paper here.

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Care and Protection

 A number of papers have been published by NZCCSS on developments in NZ’s care and protection system. In 2006 NZCCSS published Is Any Progress Being Made in the Care and Protection System for NZ Children? This report sought to assess the government’s progress in achieving an effective system to support children and young people, appraising the barriers to progress and suggesting some ways forward.  

In response to concerns about the length of time children were spending in care and the lack of support available to CYF caregivers NZCCSS published a report called Working Towards Permanency for Children in Care in August 2004.

Towards An Effective System to Support Children, Young People and Families: What is Required and What is Happening to Achieve It? was written in 2004 in response to the myriad of strategies and policies being produced by government departments at that time.  As the title suggests, the report examined what the components of an effective system to support children should look like and summarised what was actually happening in each area.

Two surveys of Christian social services were completed in 2002 and 2003 regarding agency views on the changes in CYF care and protection and collaboration practices during this period.  The first report was called Building Trust in a New Direction, and the second was called Is CYF “Building Trust in a New Direction”?

Swimming Towards the Horizon! was published in 2001 and provided members with an Information Pack on the CYF’s Care Services Strategy and Care Purchasing Framework.

Wanting the Best for Children and Families in Aotearoa NZ
was also written in 2001. This report sought to clearly explain to members further changes that had taken place within CYF. At this time CYF was under enormous pressure with large unallocated case loads and a high level of public and political scrutiny. The Wanting the Best for Children and Families in Aotearoa NZ report was written shortly after Judge Mick Brown’s 2000 Ministerial Review entitled Care and Protection Is About Adult Behaviour.

Hands Up Who Knows What is Happening to Child and Family Services in NZ? was published in 2000 and again examined changes in CYF.
 

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Policy Monitoring

The well being of families and their communities are directly and indirectly influenced by the wider policy environment.  In 2004 and 2005 NZCCSS wrote to reports attempting to bring together the disparate range of government policies into a coherent document.  The reports were aptly named Clearing the Fog: An Overview of Policy and Clearing the Fog: An Update of Policy.  In the first twenty key policy documents were examined to identify their contribution towards creating an effective system to support children, young people and families. A brief explanation of each policy was provided followed by an assessment of what progress had been made to turn policy into action. The second reported provided an update on developments including the merger of CYF into MSD.

The change of government at the end of 2008 signalled a change direction in a number of areas of interest to NZCCSS.  For example NZCCSS is monitoring changes in: ACC, welfare, local government, social service provision and criminal justice.  Updates can be found on our fortnightly blog Policy Watch.  Feature articles in Kete Kupu examine the issues in more depth and submissions can be found in the publications section of this website.

The impact of policy changes on Christian social services and the families they work with is monitored in the NZCCSS quarterly issues of the Vulnerability Report.  Feedback from our agencies is brought together alongside data from key government agencies.
 

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Effective Practice

The Child and Family Policy Group of NZCCSS meets quarterly to discuss issues affecting families.  The group is made up of managers from Christian social services and other experts who have direct experience of the impact of policies on families in their communities. Their expertise enables NZCCSS to develop a better understanding of effective practice and the tools for evaluation.

In 2006 NZCCSS published Effective Practice in Preventative Services: Six NZCCSS Member Case Studies. The aim of this paper was to identify examples of effective preventative practice delivered by six NZCCSS member agencies who work with children and their families. Case study agencies also articulated some of the issues that impacted on their ability to work effectively.

Evaluating Child and Family Services: the Experiences of Christian Social Services was written in 2004 and looked at the evaluation practices of Christian social service providers. The report also provided a number of tools and resources to help Christian social services improve their evaluation practices
 

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Grassroots Voices Research 2009

The Grassroots Voices research covered 9 regions throughout the country and 249 people were interviewed. This research highlights the many facets and dimensions of committed, effective social work and innovation in services. It also identifies areas for improvement and change, both in member services and in government family support services and policy.
As a result of this research the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is calling for:

  • An overarching “Family Support Strategy” that ensures families can access the right support services at the right time, including preventative early intervention as well as crisis and post crisis support.
  • More support for people on low incomes (including beneficiaries and low wage workers) such as more access to state and other social housing, higher benefit levels, better emergency income support and a more widely available child support tax credit.
  • Community organisations and government agencies to work more closely together across the range of services so that the best, most sustainable and most cost effective results for vulnerable families are achieved.
  • Sufficient government resourcing of community agencies so they can provide collaborative services, built on a trustrelationship with clients, that create positive change for families and whanau that need support.

Participants discussed the circumstances that led to their asking for family support services and what, in their experience, works well and what needs to change. The uppermost issue that created problems for most of these families and whanau was not having enough income for food, power and housing. Families who had achieved more healthy family and community life said that developing trustworthy relationships with their social service workers and being able to access a range of services to address their different needs had been of the greatest help. Being unable to access services within their communities, being treated disrespectfully and not being given full information about the services and supports they were entitled to, caused the greatest blockages for change.

Download the full report here and the executive summary here.

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Framework for Strong New Zealand Families and Whanau

At the April 2009 meeting with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Christian church leaders the concept of a strategy to support families was discussed. This paper provides more detail on this concept. The concept has been further developed with input from Church Leaders in conjunction with their appointed social justice advisors, New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) and Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and policy advisors from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Office of the Minister of Finance.

Download the full report here.

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More links

Find links to other organisations working in the area of Children and Families on the Links page.