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Paula Bennett

30 January, 2013

More social workers in low-decile schools

A further 80 schools will be covered by the expansion of Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) when students return to classrooms from this week.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced the expansion of SWiS to all decile 1-3 schools last year, with coverage planned to increase from 285 to 673 schools.

There will be 35 new full time social workers starting the 2013 school year at primary schools in Kaipara, Greater Auckland and the South Island.

“If we’re serious about protecting children, we need specialist staff in the right places and Social Workers in Schools are a vital frontline response to preventing and addressing abuse and neglect,” says Mrs Bennett.

The first stage of the expansion covered Northland, South Auckland and Hawke’s Bay schools. There will be a third intake later this year to cover the rest of the rest of the North Island.

The staged expansion will be completed in Term Three 2013 when all 673 decile 1-3 primary schools and around 131,000 children will have access to a social worker.

It will cost $11.1 million per year to cover the extra 388 schools with SWiS.

Frontline Child, Youth and Family social workers are also being boosted with an extra 96 staff joining the ranks, with 66 already at work now.

The extra frontline staff will cost $10.3 million per year.