Minister recognises social workers

  • Paula Bennett
Housing Social Development

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has joined in celebrations with social workers in Wellington today to mark National Social Workers Day.

“Social work is an incredibly demanding and difficult area, and social workers do a superb job supporting vulnerable children and families,” Mrs Bennett said.

“I also want to acknowledge and thank all social workers who work with district health boards, schools, non-government organisations, and other organisations. Their contributions are significant.”

Over 21,000 substantiated cases of abuse and neglect are dealt with by Child, Youth and Family’s 1,400 social workers every year, with cases becoming increasingly more complex.

Every day they are faced with family violence, the effects of drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues and children suffering from physical and sexual abuse, and neglect.

While overall notifications are down over the last twelve months, those requiring further action are continuing to increase.

“We’ve recognised the growing pressure on Child, Youth and Family and have brought in 96 new social workers and supervisors to bolster the frontline,” Mrs Bennett said.

The Social Workers in Schools expansion has seen 149 extra social workers working in low-decile schools since last year, and social workers are now based in every DHB in the country thanks to the Social Workers in Hospitals initiative.

“Extra staff will also allow CYF to strengthen the work it does with other agencies such as Police, Health and Education, which is a fundamental aspect of the Children’s Action Plan.”

“Social work is tough, and while CYF social workers can often face criticism and blame, they’re far less likely to be recognised for the amazing work they do.”

“Today is a chance for us to acknowledge the crucial role social workers play in protecting our vulnerable children, and the positive difference they make for families every day.”