Backroom to Frontline

Claire Trevett in the NZ Herald reports:

More schools in poor areas will have as part of the Government’s initiatives to protect at-risk children.

Social Development minister Paula Bennett and Prime Minister John Key announced the changes in Auckland today as part of attempts to address issues of child abuse and neglect.

As well as extra 149 social workers in schools, 96 more social workers will be taken on by Child, Youth and Family to respond to claims of child abuse. The measures are expected to cost $11.8 million extra for the schools and $10.3 million at CYF.

It would be funded from existing funding, rather than any new injection of money.

I believe this will mean every school that is decile 3 or below will now have a dedicated social worker. Hopefully this will lead to greater detection and eventually prevention of child abuse.

It is great that this is being done from existing funding also. It will be some years before we will be back in surplus, so the responsible way to improve front-line services is by reducing costs in other areas.

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