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Ministering to social service networks in official visit
Young Mums and youth shared couch space with a Government MP and top official when they visited Tui Ora this week.
Minister of Social Development Carmel Sepuloni and Brendon Boyle, MSD chief executive, called into Youth Services at Tui Ora and sat down with 12 young people. YS staff support the youth, in their late teens or early twenties, as they are young parents, not in education or training or are living away from their whānau. In each case, they help them access things such as budgeting, parenting and education or training programmes.
The group talked about the courses they are doing, any issues they encountered with transport and about the help each of their YS case worker provides.
Sydney Correy, mother of three-month old Sass, recently ticked off one of her goals: Moving into her own home. “That was a big stepping stone and good to achieve.” Next up are parenting and budgeting courses.
Kasashaa Scott mother of a pre-schooler and baby is studying a Level 4 paper through the Open Polytechnic. “I study every night for three or four hours once the kids are in bed…I’m hoping to move into psychology and child behaviour qualifications.” She did not like school but is now motivated and focused to continue with higher education.
Keri-Nai Mason, mother of Ameena Noelle (11 months), is also looking forward to budgeting and parenting programmes through Youth Services. “I think we would struggle as parents if we didn’t have this help, especially because I’m on my own.”
Carmel Sepuloni was keen to hold a baby and chat to the group. “It’s lovely to meet you, and for those that have babies, especially to hear your stories, and I wish you all the best. Hopefully you are getting the support that you need from Youth Service.
“I acknowledge the work that people at Youth Services are doing. They are all in this because they are united to ensure you guys meet your potential.”
Following the afternoon tea sit down, she and Brendon Boyle had a closed-door session with YS manager Terri Wood, Oranga Hāpori service Leader Tamara Ruakere, CEO Hayden Wano and Deputy CEO Ruth Smithers.
Just before leaving, Carmel said she had visited Tui Ora because of the organisation’s reputation. “Youth Services is one of the many parts, and we had the opportunity to meet young people and their babies which was a real privilege actually. It was not just about the Youth Services where there is the reputation of good work.
“That covering off of specialist work - with families, young people and children. It’s great that there’s a focus on a whānau ora approach of social services that Tui Ora is working across.”
As well as her visit to Tui Ora, the Minister opened the newly refurbished MSD office in central New Plymouth. An internal facelift has seen it receive a children's zone, different chairs, welcoming security guards and new bright colours. The building also houses Oranga Tamariki and Housing New Zealand.
*Yesterday’s visit follows a walk around at Tui Ora on Friday June 22 by Cabinet Minister and local MP Andrew Little. He met with chairman Wayne Mulligan, deputy chairman Robin Brockie and CEO Hayden Wano.