Kōkiri 26 – Light at the end of a long dark tunnel

Published in Kōkiri 26, Ngahuru - Autumn 2012

The continuous support and advocacy of Kaitoko Whānau workers is helping vulnerable and hard-to-reach whānau to see the light at the end of a long dark tunnel.

“Kaitoko Whānau host organisations have a strong track record of social service delivery to their communities and also reflect the communities they are serving,” Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive Leith Comer says.

“The Kaitoko Whānau workers they employ also come from their community, which is probably why they establish trust and rapport so easily with whānau. This is critical because whānau sometimes have quite negative experiences when accessing social services.

“But we know from whānau that the ongoing support and advocacy of the Kaitoko Whānau worker means they can see the light at the end of a long dark tunnel.”

Launched in late 2009, Kaitoko Whānau is one of three Whānau Social Assistance Programmes aimed at promoting wellness amongst vulnerable whānau. The other two initiatives are “Oranga Whānau” and “Māra Kai”.

Kaitoko Whānau is a whānau-centred service delivery model that funds 50 workers through 41 provider organisations in 39 high need communities. Host organisations provide Kaitoko Whānau workers with back up and support including supervision and mentoring.

The development of Whānau Plans is central to the work of Kaitoko Whānau workers in supporting whānau implement their plans to achieve their goals.

Role modelling and mentoring are also positive features of Kaitoko Whānau who support whānau in their interactions with services; role modelling confidence and assertiveness. This flows on to help whānau move out of crisis towards self-determination.

Four specialist Kaitoko Whānau workers were engaged to assist with Christchurch earthquake relief activities and their leadership was recognised by the Greater Canterbury Social Sector Awards.

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