• Roger Sowry
Social Services, Work and Income

The Department of Social Welfare's Community Funding Agency and Children, Young Persons and Their Families Service will be integrated into a Children, Young Persons and Families Service by the end of the year. The Government is also considering moving this service to a new department by the middle of next year, the Minister of Social Services, Work and Income, Roger Sowry, said today.

'Today's initiative fits well with the Government's determination to look at the overall development of policy and the delivery of social services,' said Mr Sowry.

Mr Sowry said that the move to create a single agency focused on the social service needs of children, young people and families was a natural follow-on to the creation of Work and Income New Zealand as a delivery agency for benefit and employment services. It also reflects the intention to move NZCFA's disability and vocational services funding to the health and employment sectors.

'The decision to integrate the two remaining front-line business units of the Department of Social Welfare signals a major shift to enable Government to implement its focus on families at risk. Over time there will be a move to a greater balance of preventive and remedial approaches in order to reduce the number of at risk families requiring costly and disruptive intervention services.

' Less bureaucracy and totally integrated coordination of activities aimed at helping families at risk will be key features of the new set up. It will be another significant boost to the strengthening families strategy which aims to provide coordinated and seamless services to people most in need of help.

'In the past the not-for-profit sector has expressed concerns that the funding and delivery arms of Social Welfare have not always been well synchronised. Bringing the two agencies together should overcome such difficulties. It will also enable further consideration of the contracting out of service delivery to the sector. It will not, however, change existing funding criteria.

'Already, groups like Barnardos and the Youth Horizons Trust are getting involved in the running of specialist facilities and programmes for children and young people. Iwi Social Services are also developing programmes for the care of children under the CYP&F Act. There will be further scope for such moves under the new Service.

'Splitting off the service delivery functions of the Department of Social Welfare would enable the remaining Department to concentrate on its policy functions,' said Mr Sowry.

Note for media:

At present CYPFS has a budget of $220 million and a staff of 1950. The Community Funding Agency has a budget of $99.4 million and a staff of 104.