Good response to Children's Team initiative

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 09:28 16/07/2014

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Social agencies tasked with delivering a new programme to better protect children in Marlborough will be meeting in two weeks to discuss how the programme will be rolled out.

Representatives from health, education, justice and social services agencies in Marlborough heard what could be expected from the new "Children's Team" during a meeting in Blenheim on Friday.

Marlborough was selected as one of eight regions in New Zealand for a Children's Team to help protect vulnerable and at-risk children. Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said he was pleased with the amount of support for the new initiative so early on and looked forward to working with the group. The next step would be for the governance group, selected from the top of the south, to meet to arrange how everyone would co-operate in the region so the project could go live on November 3.

Bread of Life and Hope House representative Annie Bately said she was excited by the future possibilities of the team.

"It will be pretty involved and may take a little while to get it running, but once in place we'll have a body of people to go to for fast answers and action. The support could change the way we are able to help children completely and positively," she said.

Bately was pleased that the team would be tailored around Marlborough to bring agencies and charities together for families and children.

Marlborough district councillor Jessica Bagge said having the top decision makers of major agencies and charities all talking and working together would help deliver a child friendly Marlborough.

"It will help with funding being available to all agencies as a whole and decision making should be much faster once it is up and running. The whole community will benefit, not only the vulnerable," she said.

National Children's Team member Dr Nick Baker talked about child friendly communities and how the Marlborough Children's Team would fit in to help safeguard children.

He believed the team would help create a community where children could thrive.

"Children's Teams fit in the bigger picture filling the gap between normal teamwork and statutory action with a lead professional walking alongside a family to support them and creating links with a wider team, " he said.

The details of how the team would work in Marlborough would be discussed at the next meeting, but Baker hoped the focus would be on who does what, so the region could quickly get down to the real work, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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