Ensuring that Children Come First
Barnardos raises funds to ensure the many services we provide throughout the country continue to be available. The money is used to help New Zealand children and their families overcome issues such as family break-ups, parenting alone and custody and access issues to name a few.
Family Support is essential for some families at times of anxiety and stress. With our support, family relationships can be strengthened, parents can feel more confident and children can thrive.
How your support helps
A young woman returned to the Manawatu area earlier this year after being away for several years. She had left three young children with a partner while she tried to find them a place to live. He had persuaded her that moving away would allow them to get away from his criminal associates and to start a new life. He kept promising to join her with the children and making excuses, but she found he had moved in with someone else and her children were living with his sister.
The mother’s health and emotional state went downhill, and she agreed that the sister should have custody of the children, as she felt she had nothing to offer them. When she came back to Manawatu, the children’s aunt was reluctant to let the children see her as she was concerned that the mother would drift off again and the children would be devastated. The Family Court appointed a Lawyer for Child, and it was agreed that the children should meet their mother at Barnardos supervised contact for several months to provide structured visits and ensure the children were not rushed into contact they were not prepared for.
Over the period of three months, the young mother attended every visit and, while it wasn’t all plain sailing, she showed she was committed to seeing the children. One of the children stopped coming to see her as he felt he had met her and now knew who she was but was not ready for any more contact. The mother accepted this and the other two children continued to develop a relationship with her and met their baby sister at the visit centre. There are a lot of issues for the children, who had experienced abandonment and disruption, but the aunt has had an opportunity to see how the children coped and to be confident she can manage the visits herself.
There is a long way to go and the lost years will never be regained, but Barnardos was able to provide a safe, neutral environment for the children to meet their mother and start getting to know her again, and for the mother to reconnect with the children without being questioned or feeling pressured to explain what had happened.
"In practising the techniques I'm learning at this parenting course, I am amazed and astonished that they work my son is more attentive and cooperative towards myself and others."
- Dad who attended Barnardos Parenting Course