Family Works Plays Important Role to Help Keep Kids Out of Care says Children’s Ministry Head
Leading social service providers like Family Works play an important role in supporting families to make changes so
children don’t have to come into care, says Ministry for Vulnerable Children head Grainne Moss.
While the Ministry has a statutory duty to keep children safe, part of its new focus is also on supporting families to
make changes so children do not have to come into care, Moss told social service workers attending a Family Works
Northern conference in Auckland today.
“Getting positive outcomes for children and young people requires us to increasingly work with organisations outside the
Ministry, especially where specialist skills and agile approaches are required to meet the most critical needs.
“Professionals at a local level such as those at Family Works who work with children and young people every day are best
placed to notice if something isn’t right, or if a child and their family are struggling.
“Family Works is close to communities and so can ensure their focus on listening to the needs of each child in their
care. Family Works has many stories of working with children to resolve their problems. “
Moss was the keynote speaker at the two-day conference being attended by about 180 Family Works Northern staff –
including social workers, counsellors and financial mentors – who work from 11 Family Works Northern sites in
communities across the upper North Island.
It is through families that children find the love and nurturing they need, said Moss.
“This means all New Zealanders playing their part in supporting families, providing safe, loving and stable homes where
children and young people need it, and helping our vulnerable children and families feel a part of supportive
“In many ways we are the smallest part. The community is the largest, and everyone has a role to play. With a shared
focus we can achieve a collective impact.”
Often when young people were being supported the focus was on their weaknesses, Moss said.
“But we know that what is I loveable about them is their strengths.
“We need to create a space where those strengths can come to the surface, where children and young people feel safe and
loved and can begin to unfurl.”
About Family Works:
Family Works Northern supports about 15,000 children, young people and their whanāu/families each year with services including counselling,
Social Workers in Schools, financial mentoring, parenting programmes, family violence prevention programmes and
reintegration services for women being released from prison.