The ‘Stand’ organisation says its closing the famous children’s health camp at Otaki.
It says its unique trauma-focused programme at its Children’s Villages at Otaki and Roxburgh.will stop at the end of June. The Kidzacool service for grandparents raising grandchildren will also stop.
380 children a year will miss out
The closures mean 63 jobs will be lost across both regions and 380 children a year will miss out on the Children’s Village trauma-focussed treatment programme.
The health camp was set up in Otaki in 1932 and has provided healthy breaks for thousands of children from needy families or institutions. Highly-trained nurses and teachers were always on hand to help children reach their potential.
But the organisation will continue to operate its intensive family wraparound services in the central and southern regions
Stand Chief Executive Dr Fiona Inkpen says all children and families currently working with Stand will continue to receive the Intensive Family Wraparound Service.
“I want to reassure our children and families that Stand is not going anywhere. The villages are one aspect of the services we provide, and while it is immensely sad to close these two facilities, our priority remains supporting children and families to be safe, healthy and functioning well.”
Stand is the only residential treatment service of its kind for children aged 5 to 12 who need support to recover from trauma. The Children’s Villages have combined care with residential and educational services in a safe and protective environment where children can heal and recover.
No funding rise since 2009
Dr Inkpen says Stand hasn’t had a funding increase since 2009 and has been meeting operating shortfalls from its own reserves. Financial pressures increased last year following salary increases for the organisation’s staff.
“Stand has been topping-up the shortfall in Government funding from its own funds for many years, using prudent financial management and the sale of unused land.
“Unfortunately our reserves are now used up and we have made the difficult decision after consulting with staff and the PSA to close two of our villages. Our hope is this will be a temporary measure and we will be working with Oranga Tamariki and the Ministry of Education to rebuild services in both regions,” says Dr Inkpen.
For the 2017/18 financial year, Stand and Oranga Tamariki split the operating costs caused by the increase 50/50, however Stand will need $3 million extra, an increase of 18 per cent, to cover the pay rises, compensate for 9 years of inflation, and added costs such as Kiwisaver, to keep the villages open.
Minister for Children Tracey Martin told Stand the Government recognised the value of the organisation and its work, but the funding required could not be secured at this time because of restrictions on the Government budget.