Whānau Ora Navigators Key in Early Intervention

Media Release

FOR RELEASE, 23 July 2019

The latest report from the Safety in Care Unit released by Oranga Tamariki reiterates what Māori have been saying for a long time, and that is a stronger need for early intervention methods such as Whānau Ora Navigators is well overdue.

Helen Leahy, Pouārahi of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency in the South Island said, “Our network of highly skilled Whānau Ora Navigators is fast gaining a reputation across the country as a key component to enabling whānau transformation because they are positioned well to do so, it’s at the heart of their approach”.

“This report states at 31st March 2019 there were 6400 children and young people in care and protection custody and 170 young people in youth justice custody of the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki.  With 154 findings of harm involving 103 children, meaning some were harmed more than once, this is just not acceptable. Of this, 76 percent of the children harmed in the three-month reporting period were Māori; and that is a statistic that no-one can walk away from.

“Those responsible for the harm included Oranga Tamariki staff; out-of-kin caregivers (‘stranger care’), parents, family caregivers and other children.   While all harm and abuse is deplorable, it was particularly disturbing to note six findings of physical harm by staff within residences and other group home settings; ten findings of emotional harm in a family placement and twelve findings in a non-family placement.   Emotional abuse is where the ‘psychological, social, intellectual and emotional functioning or development of children has been damaged by their treatment’.

“Mokopuna / tamariki Māori are over-represented in all these figures.  Early intervention approaches need investment now so that we can bring these alarming statistics down and give all tamariki the care and safety they deserve”.

“The time has come to back what iwi and Māori have been saying for years and that is an investment in a different approach. We know that whānau respond better when working alongside Whānau Ora Navigators as this enables a more integrated delivery of social services for whānau and capability building at a whānau level to respond to increasing levels of complex needs. These are attributes that are highly desirable when we’re talking about early intervention.

“Navigation is a strength-based strategy — whānau utilise the kaupapa as a preventative measure before things spiral into a crisis situation. By connecting whānau with appropriate services, reconnecting them with their own whānau supports; and advocating on their behalf, Whānau Ora Navigators try their best to ensure whānau needs are addressed in an uplifting and holistic way.  Whānau Ora Navigators have strong support networks available to them to enable holistic wrap-around support, intervention and care”.

Link: Safety of Children in Care Report January to March 2019

About us:
Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, is an agency that works on behalf of nine iwi in the South Island to support and enable whānau to create sustained social impact.  We do this by developing and investing in ideas and initiatives to improve outcomes for Maori, underpinned by whānau-centered principles and strategies, these include emergency preparedness and disaster recovery.  Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu also invests in Navigator roles to support and build whānau capability. Whānau Ora Navigators work with whānau who are in crisis to identify their strengths, facilitate and mentor them to provide wrap-around support and skill-building. 

Media Contact: Helen Leahy, Pouārahi, Chief Executive, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu,
Mobile: 021 881 031  
10 Show Place, Addington, Christchurch

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