Family Service Centres are one-stop-shops for families in low-income communities. Their core services can include pre-school centres, child and family services, Plunket and HIPPY. A variety of other services are offered, according to the individual centre. These include Social Workers in Schools, parenting education and other educational opportunities for adults and children.
Great Potentials was responsible for researching, designing, piloting and evaluating the Family Service Centre model in Papakura. From the early indications of success, the Government saw the benefits of Great Potentials’ guiding principles – prevention, early intervention and integration – in action. As a result of Great Potentials’ lobbying, there are currently six Family Service Centres operating in lower income areas of Mangere, Huntly, Opotiki, Porirua and Motueka as well as Great Potentials’ model in Papakura.
Government evaluation in 1997 found evidence of Family Service Centres successfully reducing barriers to access, creating welcoming environments, offering supportive networks and developmental opportunities for parents and children and thus for communities.
In simple terms, families who might not otherwise get the help they need feel able to take advantage of the health, education and parenting-help opportunities through these community-based centres.
Great Potentials sees Family Service Centres as working examples of the benefits of the strength-based approach to family needs and of “joined-up” services. The Foundation will continue to work for such centres being available in more low-income communities.
To provide high quality, culturally appropriate, strength-based, integrated services to children and families in need of support.
- Develop skills and abilities appropriate to the child’s developmental age
- Increase the numbers of Maori and Pacific children taking part in early childhood education
- Help those with special needs receive a better education
- Improve home/early childhood centre and home/school relationships
- Increase the vaccination rates of children under five
- Increase the number of children receiving “well child checks”
- Encourage parents and children to adopt healthy lifestyles
- Reduce the incidence of child abuse and family breakdown
- Increase parents’ and children’s access to and use of existing services
PAPAKURA FAMILY SERVICE CENTRE
We foster and promote the safety, well-being and learning of the children of the Papakura community and the well-being of their families through support, counselling, education and advocacy. Our aim is to achieve maximum positive change for the greatest number of children and families, in our community.
Since its opening in 1992, the Papakura Family Service Centre has focused on solutions to the challenges facing families in the area. All the Centre’s programmes are full, and work is currently being undertaken to establish a further centre nearby in Takanini to meet the increasing demand for the Papakura Centre’s services.