Media releases

New approach is needed for our children

28 September 2018

Barnardos welcomes the Government’s announcement of a renewed emphasis to reduce family and sexual violence.  

Chief Executive Jeff Sanders says that “For too long New Zealand has had unacceptably high levels of family and sexual violence.  Every year Barnardos works with over 50,000 children and their families and the presence and impact of violence is a significant part of our work” he says.

“We share the Prime Ministers vision for New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child, but for far too many kiwi kids that isn’t the case.  An estimated 250,000 children have been harmed emotionally and physically by violence at home. This is totally unacceptable, and must be addressed” says Mr Sanders.

In welcoming this announcement Mr Sanders also said that “over the years there have been various attempts and limited success at reducing family and sexual violence. This initiative talks about demonstrating a new way of working across government and at the community level. Barnardos is committed to supporting this new work programme.”

“We particularly welcome the Governments approach to report progress through an annual report to Parliament and that accountability and leadership for this approach will sit with the Chief Executives of the Social Wellbeing Board. This will ensure that the work doesn’t become just another work programme but is focussed on making the required change”.

Mr Sanders also encouraged the government to look at the previous work that has been done to inform the way forward and not repeat past mistakes. “This will also ensure that the project is funded appropriately to achieve the objectives and the governments vision” he says.   

Barnardos recognises outstanding leadership of out-going Chief Executive Jeff Sanders

3rd September 2018

The Barnardos Board is today leading tributes recognising the outstanding leadership of Chief Executive Jeff Sanders, who will vacate the Chief Executive role early next year. 

James Te Puni, Barnardos Board Chair, says that the Board reluctantly accepted Mr Sanders’ resignation last week. “Jeff has decided that 2019 is the right time for him to end his service with Barnardos. When he steps down, Jeff will have led Barnardos for seven years.  Over that time he has been a positive leader in the social sector in the provision of services to the tamariki and whānau of Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Mr Te Puni says that “there’s no doubt that Jeff will be greatly missed by the Barnardos whānau and the wider social services, community and children’s sectors. The Board  acknowledges that Jeff will be leaving Barnardos in a strong position, well-placed to continue our collective commitment and focus on ensuring that every child in Aotearoa New Zealand can shine bright.”

Barnardos, Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading children’s charity, has been working with children and tamariki and their families and whānau for over 60 years. Today, Barnardos provides Child and Family Social Services, Early Learning, and Advocacy for children’s rights and wellbeing. Mr Te Puni says that Mr Sanders has “been a really important part of the Barnardos New Zealand story, and he’ll leave a legacy of commitment and leadership. Jeff came to lead Barnardos after holding a range of executive leadership roles in the social sector, including at IHC, Wesley Community Action, and as Chief Executive of Relationship Services. Jeff has brought a great depth of experience and expertise that Barnardos has been hugely fortunate to benefit from, and for over 30 years he has been a force of positive influence in the social sector in Aotearoa.”

Mr Te Puni says that “during his tenure as Chief Executive, Jeff has made a significant contribution to Barnardos’ kaupapa, to leading cross-sector collaboration towards common goals, and to positive change in the the lives of the children, families and whānau who Barnardos works to support every day. He has always worked hard to ensure Barnardos achieves good outcomes for tamariki and whānau Māori, and has been an influential advocate for all children, also seen as a trusted advisor by successive governments in the shaping of policy.”

“Beyond this, Jeff has been an exemplary leader for our Barnardos whānau, remaining connected to our staff and Board members around the country. He works effectively with our stakeholders and partners. Compassion and integrity are integral components of Jeff’s leadership style”, Mr Te Puni says.   

Mr Sanders’ last day at Barnardos will be 08 February 2019. Mr Te Puni says that Barnardos will formally farewell Mr Sanders at that time, and acknowledge and celebrate his contribution. Mr Te Puni says “I know there will be many people joining with me and all Barnardos Board and staff members in wishing Jeff and his whānau every good wish for the future.”

The Barnardos Board will shortly be commencing a recruitment process to fill the Chief Executive role.

Barnardos says proposals on home-based early childhood education are a step in the right direction

23 August 2018

Barnardos welcomes Government’s proposals published this week to improve home-based early childhood education (ECE) in Aotearoa New Zealand. These reflect many of the themes Barnardos has discussed during earlier consultation phases, to ensure quality of home-based education.

Keith Newton, General Manager Barnardos Early Learning, says “We are pleased to see Government setting out its proposals for home-based early learning in its ‘Review of Home-based ECE’ Discussion Document. If implemented, many of the proposals have the potential to strengthen the quality of home-based ECE, for the benefit of children and tamariki in their early years and beyond, and their families and whānau.”

Barnardos is Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading children’s charity, working towards the vision of ‘An Aotearoa New Zealand where every child shines bright’. As part of its services offered around the country, Barnardos provides home-based early learning to all children and tamariki.

Mr Newton says that “Barnardos has been providing home-based services since 1978, and we are committed to the safety, learning and wellbeing of all tamariki. Barnardos welcomes proposals for changes that will support the home-based learning environment, as home-based early learning provides an important choice for parents and caregivers”.

Noting that the Government’s proposals cover aspects such as the establishment of minimum qualification standards, the health and safety of children, and strengthening the role of the Education Review Office, Mr. Newton says that Barnardos “supports changes that will enable tamariki to learn and grow in safe, nurturing environments. We will be actively participating in the consultation process on this Discussion Document, and we encourage parents, educators and service providers to also have their say on the discussion themes and proposals.”

Mr Newton says that Barnardos is looking forward to continuing to engage with the Ministry of Education and the wider early learning sector through the consultation process, and that Barnardos “aims to ensure tamariki and whānau are at the centre of policy, legislative and practice changes affecting them, and that change is supported by sustainable and effective systems and funding.” 

60 years of history matters. Our children matter

2 August 2018

At Barnardos, we support tamariki, and their futures, across the length and breadth of New Zealand.

For over 60 years, Barnardos has cared for, nurtured and educated Kiwi children. This week Barnardos’ early learning service is reaffirming the importance of its Barnardos heritage with a name change to Barnardos Early Learning, from KidStart Childcare and Education

Barnardos Chief Executive, Jeff Sanders says, “Research has shown that parents in New Zealand have a high awareness of and connection to the Barnardos brand. We’re trusted and we’re for children. We are excited to have our early learning services come back under the Barnardos name, as we work to do more for all children of Aotearoa.”

“We know it’s important Kiwi kids are given the opportunity to experience the best childhood they can, as it prepares them for life. Our years of experience, knowledge and a focus on child led learning means we are experts in supporting children, whānau and communities to prepare all tamariki to reach their future potential.”

Offering home and centre based options, Barnardos Early Learning will continue to be run by teachers and educators of the highest standard, providing a top quality early learning experience for tamariki in our care. “Our teachers are committed to delivering the best. Every family and child has different needs, and we celebrate and nurture their uniqueness ” says Jeff.

Jeff explains “We hear from many parents about the benefits they get from our early learning experience.

Melody, a parent from Christchurch told us Barnardos is an outstandingly caring, friendly, loving environment that my daughter thrives in! Giovanni from Auckland said “My son has developed so many skills since starting at Barnardos. The staff are so lovely and it is such a friendly environment!”

Barnardos is more than a name. However, the Barnardos name does tell of its history and of its commitment to building a better future for all children in New Zealand. Barnardos Early Learning is an important part of this commitment.

For more information about Barnardos Early Learning go to

Barnardos welcomes Budget 2018 and the positive impact it will have on children

17 May 2018

Barnardos says that Budget 2018 will help children in Aotearoa New Zealand shine brighter.

Jeff Sanders, Chief Executive, says Barnardos welcomes the Government’s commitment to making Aotearoa New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child. Mr Sanders says that “Barnardos is pleased to see the Government investing in a range of initiatives that are good for children. With Budget 2018, the Government has made strong investment in reducing child poverty, improving health and housing, strengthening education including early learning, and ensuring that the State care system and family violence services provide support to children, families and whānau in need.”

Mr Sanders says that “these are all things which will have a tangible positive impact for children. Taken together with the Government’s Families Package and investments previously announced through the mini-Budget last year, children in Aotearoa New Zealand stand to benefit from this Budget.”

Mr Sanders says that the Government’s investment in early learning, doctor’s visits, healthy and safe housing, and more support for children in State care demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making real change for children. Mr Sanders says that “childhood is a critical time for all of us. All children should have a positive start in life in their early years, be able to flourish and develop to reach their potential throughout childhood, and be supported in ways that work for them. Although deeper investment for children will still be needed over time, Budget 2018 is a strong start for children.”

Barnardos, which is New Zealand’s leading children’s charity and one of its oldest, provides a range of children’s social services on both a universal and specialist basis, early learning services through early learning centres and home-based networks, and advocates for the rights and wellbeing of all children in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Mr Sanders says that as a non-government partner to Government, Barnardos is working proactively to influence Government policy and spending for the benefit of children and their families and whānau. “We know that Government budgets are about choices, and the choices Government makes always affect children. Although the choices made through Budget 2018 will have a positive impact on many children, we know that more investment will be needed over time, to ensure every child in our country can have a positive start in life on an equal basis, and develop to realise their potential and shine bright”, Mr Sanders says.

Mr Sanders says that Barnardos looks forward to Budget 2019 which the Government has framed as a ‘Wellbeing Budget’. He says that Barnardos will be working with Government to ensure that non-government social sector organisations are fairly and sustainably funded as a top priority in Budget 2019, so that children and their families and whānau can receive the support they need, when and if they need it. Mr Sanders says that “Barnardos will also continue partnering with Government to deliver services that make a real difference in the lives of tamariki and whānau, and to help shape initiatives to reduce child poverty and to ensure children’s rights and wellbeing are at the centre of Government investment, policy and practice”.

Barnardos welcomes funding boost for frontline family violence services

9 May 2018

Barnardos is welcoming the Prime Minister’s announcement that frontline family violence services will get a significant funding boost in this year’s Budget.

Jeff Sanders, Chief Executive, says that “As a family violence service provider, Barnardos works directly with tamariki and whānau experiencing the immediate and aftermath impacts of family violence. We see family violence is a problem throughout Aotearoa, detrimentally affecting tamariki and whānau from all walks of life.”

“This funding boost is significant, urgently needed and will make a real difference. We know that for tamariki and whānau to effectively rebuild their lives after family violence and to go on to thrive, access to timely and expert support services is essential. This announcement is a positive first step”, Mr. Sanders says.

Barnardos provides a range of family violence support services for tamariki and whānau. These include Barnardos’ Children’s Safety Programme and Footsteps to Feeling Safe, for tamariki who have witnessed or experienced family violence. Through the Programme, children develop a safety plan to help them stay safe, and are supported to make sense of their experience and develop a sense of hope for the future. Children are supported to build their confidence, and to know how and where to get help if it is needed.

Mr. Sanders says that family violence is a problem Barnardos is committed to helping prevent, and that alongside putting children at the heart of its work, Barnardos takes a holistic view, working with parents too.

“We actively support parents, families and whānau to understand the negative influence and effects of family violence, and how they can build a family environment that is violence free, so tamariki and the whole family can thrive. Feedback from participants in our family violence services shows that Barnardos programmes make a real and positive difference for tamariki and whānau.

“As well as receiving referrals for family violence services from Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Justice, a significant proportion of Barnardos’ work supporting those who have experienced family violence comes through non-formal referral channels, reflecting the widespread nature of family violence.

“Given that family violence is a pervasive problem facing many of the families we work with, we know we need to constantly strengthen the services we provide, so tamariki and whānau are well-supported. We also know that the impacts of family violence can be life-long, and that family violence is a stressor which is rarely experienced in isolation. So, we welcome funding and support from Government that recognises this reality,” says Mr Sanders.

Barnardos welcomes boost to mental health support of Canterbury children

22 February 2018

Barnardos says the Prime Minister’s announcement today that Canterbury children will receive more mental health support should help make a positive difference to children’s health and well-being.

Claire Achmad, Barnardos Manager – Advocacy, says “Barnardos works with hundreds of children and their families and whānau in the Canterbury region.  We are acutely aware of the mental health challenges many Canterbury children have been experiencing over the past seven years in the aftermath of the earthquakes. Unfortunately, for many children the psychosocial stress and resulting mental health challenges they have experienced – and in many cases are continuing to experience – has been life-changing.”

Barnardos says that the mental health support available to children and young people in the Canterbury region in the aftermath of the earthquakes has been unable to keep up with the growing need, and this has had a negative compounding impact on the trauma experienced by children and their families.

“Through our work, including as a member of Child and Youth Friendly Christchurch, and also through the calls and online chats we have received via Barnardos 0800 What’s Up, we have listened to children from Canterbury telling us that they have been struggling with significant mental health issues associated with their earthquake experiences. Children themselves have been saying for some time now that they need more help from specialist professionals who can provide them with practical support, so they can feel safe and strong again”, says Ms. Achmad.

Ms. Achmad says that as part of its own work supporting children and their families and whānau in Canterbury, Barnardos has been focusing on practical ways to support the resilience and well-being of children. “In areas such as Kaikoura and Hurunui where earthquake stress is still very high for children, thanks to the support of the DHB, the Rata Foundation and Lotteries we have responded with an innovative new programme, Inspire Kids. Children, families and whānau tell us this is having a positive impact.”

However, Barnardos says that it is not too late to make sure that children receive the specialist mental health support they need. “That’s why we welcome the Government’s first step announced today as part of its $28 million dollar investment in supporting the mental health of Canterbury children over the next three years. Barnardos wants to see every child in Aotearoa New Zealand experience a safe and happy childhood. By ensuring Canterbury primary and intermediate school children have access to mental health workers as the Government has said today it will now invest in, we believe children will be better supported to positively deal with the challenges they face, and to develop a sense of hope for the future.”

Child Poverty Reduction Bill signals new start for children’s rights and well-being in Aotearoa New Zealand

31 January 2018

Barnardos says that the introduction of the Child Poverty Reduction Bill today signals a new start for children’s rights and well-being in our country, presenting a renewed opportunity to work together to make Aotearoa New Zealand a place where every child shines bright.

Chief Executive Jeff Sanders says, Barnardos welcomes Prime Minister Ardern’s Bill, as it demonstrates the Government is acting on its commitments to addressing the high levels of child poverty in New Zealand and to putting children at the heart of its approach to governing.

“It’s an exciting moment for children and for our society that today we are seeing this child-centred piece of legislation introduced in Parliament. Every day, Barnardos works with children and families throughout New Zealand experiencing the day-to-day impacts of child poverty. We see that it can affect all aspects of children’s lives detrimentally, preventing them from experiencing a positive start in life. Children themselves tell Barnardos that they want action on child poverty, so that no child has to grow up without the basics and so that all children experience a more equal childhood. Children will be among those excited today to see our Prime Minister putting forward a new law to make this happen”, Mr Sanders says.

Barnardos has been advocating for a sustainable long-term approach to reducing and ultimately ending child poverty in New Zealand, and Mr Sanders says the Bill’s framework takes this approach.

“This Bill follows through on many of the recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty. Barnardos believes that embedding the proposed suite of primary and supplementary measures in legislation will enable tracking of progress on child poverty reduction over time in a holistic and transparent way.

“We are particularly pleased to see a persistence measure included as one of the four primary measures, because we know some children living at the hardest end of poverty are those for whom poverty persists over time. The reporting and planning requirements in line with the annual Budget should be a transparent way for us all to see how Government is investing and driving policy to create real impact on bringing down the numbers of children experiencing poverty,” says Mr Sanders.

 “Something else Barnardos has been calling for is a plan for protecting and promoting the rights of all children in Aotearoa New Zealand, to breathe life into the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. So we strongly welcome the Bill’s requirement on governments to devise, publish and review a Government Child Well-being Strategy. Children have great ideas for what they need to live safe and positive childhoods where they can develop and flourish, and we are happy to see the requirement in the Bill on government to consult children and Māori in developing this Strategy. As New Zealand’s largest children’s charity, we also look forward to contributing to shaping this Strategy with children and Government, and to holding Government to account on its commitments.”

Barnardos believes although ending child poverty will be challenging, it is a realistic goal for New Zealand to work towards. “This is our opportunity to take concerted and collaborative action to address the underlying root cause drivers of poverty, and to potentially lead the world in showing how we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of halving poverty in all its forms by 2030 – or to even do better on this, earlier. In that spirit, we hope that the current – and if the Bill is passed, successive Governments – will be ambitious when setting their targets for child poverty reduction,” says Mr Sanders.  

Mr Sanders also emphasises that it is crucial all parties and the public get behind the aim of the Bill to create sustainable and enduring progress on child poverty reduction and all children’s well-being. “We stand at a pivotal moment for progress for children. Barnardos encourages all political parties to come together and reach consensus on this legislation. It’s essential we raise up children’s rights and well-being above party political lines. Doing so is in all children’s interests, and it will lift us all as a society, helping build a culture of protecting, respecting and celebrating children in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Barnardos welcomes the Government’s strong focus on children

14 December 2017

Barnardos welcomes the Government’s strong focus on children in the Government’s Families Package and Budget Policy Statement 2018 announced today.

Claire Achmad, Barnardos’ Manager – Advocacy says “Barnardos’ vision is An Aotearoa New Zealand where every child shines bright. We believe that the Government’s Families Package will support more tamariki to shine, and achieve their full potential.”

“We know from the work we do with tamariki and their whānau every day that for many – especially those in low-income working households – the financial boost they will receive from the Families Package will have a real and tangible impact. For some children, it will be the difference between having enough of the basics, like food and warm clothing, and not having those things.”

Barnardos particularly welcomes the Best Start payment of $60 per week per child to help with costs in all children’s first year of life, and the second and third years for low and middle-income families. “Barnardos has been advocating for some time now for the introduction of a Universal Child Payment. This is because we know all families with children in their early years face significant costs and pressures, and  we believe that Government providing financial support in children’s early years on a universal basis sends a strong message that all children are valued and their potential invested in equally. The Best Start payment will begin sending that message. It will help strengthen household resilience and give parents more choices about how they spend to support their children’s development, so they can flourish. We hope to see it increase in real terms in future and be extended to more children in their early years.”

Barnardos is pleased to see the Government’s projection that its Families Package will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2020/2021. “The commitments announced today give us encouragement that the Government is acting to put children’s well-being at the centre of its policies and investment. Listening to what children say about their experiences and aspirations will also be essential to ensure Government’s policies are as child-focused as they can be.”

Barnardos emphasises that although this is a positive start – and as Government likely recognises – there will still be much more work to be done to ultimately end child poverty in New Zealand. In particular, significant efforts will need to be put into addressing the seven per cent of kiwi kids experiencing severe poverty, living in low income households and in material hardship.  

Ms. Achmad says “Barnardos welcomes the shape of the child poverty reduction legislation announced in the Budget Policy Statement 2018, in particular because we want to see long-term, enduring and sustainable change for children in Aotearoa. We look forward to Budget 2018 being the first Budget reporting on how we are tracking as country to reduce child poverty. We also hope that cross-party consensus on child poverty reduction will be reached, in the best interests of all tamariki.”

“Barnardos wants to see Aotearoa New Zealand become a country where all children enjoy a childhood where they are safe, secure and loved, and where every child is empowered to grow up and fulfil their potential. Today’s announcements from Government indicate a strong commitment to giving children’s issues the attention and action they deserve, so we can begin moving in a more positive direction for all children.”

Barnardos is today one of thirty organisations supporting a joint call for cross-party consensus on reducing child poverty in Aotearoa, so all children in our country can shine bright.

24 November 2017

A strong and enduring approach needed to reduce child poverty 

Barnardos has joined together with a wide range of other child-focused organisations to endorse the Children’s Commissioner’s call for cross-party consensus on reducing child poverty.

Claire Achmad, Manager – Advocacy says, “Barnardos agrees child poverty reduction is an issue we must raise up above party politics. So we focus on the people at the heart of the problem – the tamariki and children who are experiencing the negative impacts of living in poverty.”  

Based on the commitments made by many political parties during the 2017 Election campaign, the time is right for cross-party consensus to happen.

Ms. Achmad says that achieving cross-party consensus on reducing child poverty will help ensure the commitment to addressing this national problem is sustained beyond the three-yearly election cycle. The recent cross-party consensus achieved on child poverty reduction in Scotland shows such agreement is possible.

“A strong and enduring approach is needed, so that reducing child poverty is an embedded commitment for all successive New Zealand governments. This is in the best interests of Aotearoa’s children and our country’s interests on an intergenerational basis,” says Ms. Achmad

In its recently published Briefing to the Incoming Government, An Aotearoa New Zealand every child shines bright | Nga Tamariki, Barnardos identified ending child poverty as a key priority which needs to be supported by a systematic action plan. This is something that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended New Zealand do.

“Well-designed legislation on child poverty reduction will be an important part of that approach. It will be important to also establish transparent accountability mechanisms, policies and systems addressing underlying root causes and developing equality of opportunity. These must be child-focused. Something Barnardos is keen to see Government explore as part of such an approach is the potential of a Universal Child Payment for all children in their early years of life, to underpin the dignity and equality of all children in Aotearoa New Zealand and ensure children grow up in resilient households”, Ms. Achmad says.

“Ending poverty is one of the Sustainable Development Goals New Zealand has already committed to. If we get our approach to reducing child poverty right, we could lead the world on how this SDG can be achieved. Now is our opportunity to be bold, and work collectively together for and with children to get it right.” 

Supporting Wellington parents and their tamariki with Barnardos new opening

5 October 2017

Today is the opening ceremony for Barnardos latest Early Learning Centre in Central Wellington. This Early Learning centre is conveniently located on Webb Street (at the top end of Cuba Street) and will soon become a second home for up to 52 Kiwi kids, including 13 under two year olds. The children will start arriving at the centre this Monday.

Barnardos Chief Executive Jeff Sanders says “it’s important Kiwi kids are given the opportunity to participate in quality early childhood education as it gives children the best start in life. Barnardos has over 45 years’ experience in early learning and child care.  We are experts in delivering quality early learning experiences for children.

“We are excited to be offering Kiwi kids in central Wellington the opportunity to be part of our purpose built centre. There is a growing demand for central childcare to support families where both parents are working. This new centre will be great for our community and the local families.

“Barnardos is a not-for-profit organisation - so parents can feel good knowing any profits made goes back into supporting their tamariki, the centre and the community,” says Jeff.

Barnardos designed this centre with Wellington working parents in mind. The central Wellington centre offers extended hours of 7am – 6.30pm and provides healthy meals so parents know their children are getting the nutrients they need.

Jeff says “The extended hours mean the parents can be flexible with their time and figure out what works for their individual family. We are making parents’ mornings that little bit easier by also offering breakfast in our all-inclusive fees.”

Head teacher at the centre Aimee Hammond says “The building is light and airy and we are lucky to have such a large outdoor area right in the city! I think this will be a fantastic addition to the community where parents can relax knowing their under 5s are with experienced local teachers focused on providing a stimulating environment for children to learn and grow.

“There’s a huge demand already for this centre through word of mouth - so we are expecting spaces to fill up quickly.”

With Barnardos now offering centre and home based Early Learning Services in Wellington, parents have a choice of what works for them. For more information about the Wellington Barnardos Early Learning centre go to

0800 What’s Up helpline is extending its hours to help more Kiwi kids

31 August 2017

Barnardos’ 0800 What’s Up kids helpline is extending its hours from 1 September. “The extended hours each day mean that we can answer over 120 calls per week  that otherwise would’ve gone unanswered”, says Karen Billings, Operations Manager 0800 What’s Up.

0800 What’s Up (0800 942 8787) new hours are 12 midday to 11pm, Monday to Friday and 3pm to 11pm, Saturday and Sunday.

This change is in direct response to the recent ‘Break the Silence’ series on youth suicide in the NZ Herald. Last year, What’s Up counsellors answered 45,000 calls from children and young people, some callers as young as 5 years old. Almost 400 of those children spoke about deliberate self-harm, and approximately 1,200 spoke to us about bullying. 

“Our experience working with children and young people tells us the powerful impact it can make for a child to know that they have someone they can talk to about anything. They can see a way forward with a sense of hope and purpose if they can openly talk about the problems they’re facing. This is why we are doing all we can to have someone on the other line when these desperate kids and young people call to get help.”

Our current  funding allows the hours be extended until 11pm until 31 December 2017. We urgently need to find more financial support so we can continue these hours into 2018.”  An increase in funding for this service would enable us to reach more Kiwi kids to help and support them in ways which can be life-changing and save lives.”

Working together to do more for Kiwi kids

19 June 2017

”Creating a bright future for all children in Aotearoa New Zealand is achievable, and we must all work together to make it happen’, says Barnardos, the leading children’s charity.

“Our kids are our future”,  says Mr Sanders. Barnardos takes a long-term view and advocates for others to do the same. We are raising the next generation of New Zealanders who will be looking after us and our country one day. “The recent UNICEF Report was another reminder that we must do more in New Zealand to ensure that all children here grow up safe, healthy and happy. It’s about the culture that we want to build in New Zealand for our kids. We need to work together urgently to get our country to a better place for children, and for all of us.”

This week Barnardos has launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the needs of one million New Zealand children. “Barnardos exists for all Kiwi kids,” says Barnardos Chief Executive Jeff Sanders. “Through our early childhood education and social services, we make a long-lasting and positive difference to young lives every day.”

‘Doing more for our nation’s children’ is at the heart of Barnardos’ campaign. Barnardos has been working with communities throughout New Zealand for more than 60 years. “Whether it’s a teacher helping a three-year-old to build a love of learning, or a social worker sharing strategies to keep a child safe from family violence, we are changing the stories of thousands of young Kiwis for the better.”

”Barnardos urges all people of New Zealand to do more to make Aotearoa a place where all kids feel safe, loved and valued. A place where all children have positive stories to tell about their lives. “We must recognise that all of us have a part to play in making New Zealand a country where every child has the opportunity to shine bright. Let’s all work together to make that happen. We can all do more.” says Mr Sanders.

Barnardos’ ‘Do More’ campaign starts on  19 June and will run through July. The campaign will be running across a variety of media.

For more information, contact Elena Walter, Brand Manager, on 027 217 5175.

We must do more to protect the well-being and rights of children in New Zealand

15 June 2017

Barnardos says a new report placing New Zealand 34th out of 41 developed countries is a reminder that we must do more to protect the well-being and rights of all children in New Zealand.

"The Report published today by UNICEF's Innocenti Centre - a world-class, evidence-driven research institute - makes clear how far New Zealand is falling behind on a whole range of child well-being indicators. We must not only pay attention to these concerning findings, but act on them to build a brighter future for all New Zealand's children", says Claire Achmad, Barnardos Manager - Advocacy.

The UNICEF Innocenti Report Card 14 provides an assessment of child well-being across country members of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union. Comparative to the other countries assessed, New Zealand ranks in the bottom quarter on many of the measures used.

"The Report shows we've got a real problem in New Zealand when it comes to some of the basics, like keeping our kids safe. We've got the worst rate of youth suicide and this is highly concerning. We must act to change this by listening to children and young people to understand how they and their peers get to this point, so we can identify the drivers and work with children and young people to develop solutions that work in practice", says Ms. Achmad.

"We must also do more to support all children from their very early years, so that they have the basics they need to grow up well. The Report Card tells us that around 16 percent of children in New Zealand are living in households where none of their parents or caregivers have a job. Barnardos knows from the work we do around New Zealand with children that a lack of household income impacts negatively on children, across a whole range of socio-economic outcomes."

"This Report Card is yet another reminder that we've got to do more in New Zealand to ensure that all children here grow up safe, healthy and happy. So they know that we believe in their potential. It's about the culture that we want to build in New Zealand for our kids. We need to work together urgently to get our country to a better place for children, and for all of us." 

Anything in this media statement can be attributed to Claire Achmad, Manager - Advocacy. For more information, contact Elena Walter, Brand Manager, on 027 217 5175.

More needs to be done so that all New Zealand children benefit from public spending

26 May 2017

Barnardos says Budget 2017 will help some children, but more needs to be done so that all New Zealand children benefit from public spending.

“Government Budgets are about choices. This includes choices about how public money is spent on children. We’re pleased to see the Government aiming to get more money to families with children. This will make a tangible difference for some families – some more than others. But in addition to targeted funding for effective, evidence-based programmes such as Family Start – which we strongly welcome – we think that Government could have made the choice to spend some of its surplus to ensure all New Zealand children benefit in their early years, on an equal basis”, says Barnardos Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Sanders.

“We continue to have some appalling statistics in New Zealand when it comes to the protection and wellbeing of our tamariki – such as our unacceptably high child poverty rate. Barnardos sees the impact of these problems every day in the work we do around New Zealand with children and their families. It’s essential that Government focuses on addressing these really tough issues so that all children in New Zealand can shine bright.”

This Budget was an opportunity for Government to choose to build a brighter future for all New Zealand children that is transformational and visionary. “We would have liked to see Government choose to be bold and make commitments to spending on children in their early years on a universal basis, to reduce the inequality gap and to address child poverty. In that respect, this Budget is a missed opportunity.”

Sanders says that “there are positive signals from Government about what it wants to achieve for and with New Zealand children. But we’d like to see Government comprehensively focus on putting all New Zealand children at the centre of its work. After all, they’re this country’s future. One of the strongest ways it can do this is through directing public money to New Zealand children in their early years, through a universal child payment.”

“A universal approach sends a strong message about the place we want New Zealand to be for children, one in which they thrive and flourish, so they can go on to live good, productive and fulfilling lives”, says Sanders.

Anything in this media statement can be attributed to Jeff Sanders, Chief Executive Officer. For more information, contact Elena Walter, Brand Manager on 027 217 5175.

Barnardos hopes to see all NZ children benefit from Budget 2017

24 May 2017

Barnardos hopes to see all New Zealand children benefit from Budget 2017 tomorrow.

“We must ensure that all our nation’s children get the best possible start in life. A start that sees them flourishing in childhood and productive in adulthood”, says Barnardos Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Sanders. 

“The way Government chooses to spend money can have a tangible and positive impact on children’s lives. Boosting household resilience for families with children is a way to make this happen. What we particularly hope to see is the introduction of a universal child payment.”

A Government commitment to a universal child payment for all children in their early years would send a strong message about the kind of country that New Zealand can be: one where all children get an equal start in life and whose potential is valued.

“In addition to targeted interventions focusing on the most vulnerable children, a universal child payment is the most practical way that Government can help families to give their children a start in life that is positive and equal. Many other countries already do this, so we know it is something that works”, says Sanders. 

“A universal child payment for each and every child in New Zealand in their early years is the best fiscal intervention to support children from the moment they are born. It will help to reduce stress on families and inequality among children, contributing to a reduction in our unacceptably high child poverty rate. We hope that Budget 2017 will reflect this, and send a strong message that New Zealand is a country that champions children.”

Anything in this media release can be attributed to Jeff Sanders, Chief Executive Officer. For more information, contact Elena Walter, Brand Manager, on 027 217 5175.

Barnardos welcomes new government investment in improving the lives of vulnerable children

3 May 2017

Every child in Aotearoa New Zealand deserves a great start in life and investing in our most at-risk children as early as possible helps build stronger whānau and communities.

That’s the message from the country’s leading provider of children’s social services, Barnardos New Zealand, following the Prime Minister’s announcement today of increased investment in supporting vulnerable children in Budget 2017.

The increase in investment, along with a new set of Better Public Services targets, which include a focus on improving the lives of vulnerable children and their families, has been welcomed by Barnardos.

“At Barnardos, we believe the best investments are those that put the child at the centre and improve the lives of Aotearoa New Zealand’s tamariki and rangatahi,” says Barnardos Chief Executive Jeff Sanders. “This is particularly true for children who are at risk of poor education, health and social outcomes. By investing in them early, we’ll be helping to make a crucial difference, setting them on a path to brighter futures.”

The new Social Investment Package will see $321 million invested over 4 years to help some of the country's most at-risk children. As part of the package, the Government will invest $28.1 million in a nation-wide roll-out of Family Start — a child-centred, strengths-based programme supporting whānau with very young children at risk of challenges which may impact on the child’s ability to flourish.

Barnardos works with thousands of vulnerable children each year in communities throughout New Zealand and currently delivers Family Start in Taranaki. The programme sees social workers visiting families in their homes to help improve children’s health, learning, relationships and safety.

Since the organisation began delivering Family Start in late 2016, Barnardos staff have seen significant improvements in the lives of the children and families they’ve worked with. “With Family Start, we’re able to work with families from very early on in a child’s life and for up to 5 years if they need that ongoing support,” says Mr Sanders. “This allows us to take a long-term view while also supporting families to make immediate improvements to household structures and routines, children’s health, and to address serious issues such as family violence. It’s a holistic, child-centred service and it’s fantastic that we now have the opportunity for more children to benefit from it.”

The Prime Minister today also announced 10 new Better Public Services targets, with ‘Improving the lifetime wellbeing of vulnerable children’, ‘Healthy mums and babies’ and ‘Better access to social housing’ among the targets. Sanders says Barnardos welcomes the Government’s commitment to improving outcomes for tamariki and their whānau—including the most vulnerable—through the new targets.

“It was great to hear Mr English stating that changing lives is what drives him as Prime Minister,” says Mr Sanders. “Kiwis used to believe that Aotearoa New Zealand was the best place in the world to be a child. We all need to work together make sure that our country is again an excellent place to begin life and grow up. At Barnardos, we believe that strong communities start with children who are supported, educated and protected in all aspects of their lives so they can shine bright.”

“We welcome the Prime Minister’s view that ‘a great country is one where children with a tough start will be supported so they can live good lives’ — this new investment and commitment is an important step towards that.”

For more information, contact Barnardos Brand Manager, Elena Walter, on 027 217 5175.

Caring for 120 kids brings joy and challenges

10 March 2017

Sharon and Gary Richardson have a family that is 120 strong. Alongside raising 4 children of their own (including an adopted daughter) the pair have cared for more than 120 children over the past 30 years as Barnardos foster carers in Auckland.

Now, their incredible commitment to the wellbeing of children is being acknowledged with a nomination for an Excellence in Fostering Award as part of Foster Care Awareness Week (March 6-10).

They will join other nominees on Friday 10 March for a special awards ceremony hosted by the Governor-General at Government House in Wellington.

But while the couple are pleased to have official recognition of their efforts, they say the real reward has been helping children when they need it most. “We have found so much joy in each child who has come into our home and love the energy they bring into our lives,” says Sharon.

For children who have been through some really tough times, praise and encouragement does wonders, as do consistent routines and boundaries. “We really thrive on seeing children learn and develop. We get great pleasure from teaching children their times tables and increasing their vocabulary — it’s amazing to be part of their growth.”

Barnardos provides its foster care service in Auckland with around 70 children placed into the homes of carers each year. Placements can be for just a few nights or long–term, depending on the child’s need and their family situation.

Barnardos Chief Executive Jeff Sanders says Sharon and Gary’s nomination for the award is apt given the commitment and passion they have shown over so many years.

“I’m amazed by the sacrifices and selflessness of all Barnardos foster carers,” says Jeff. “Our carers truly enrich the lives of those children who come into their homes — they’re helping ensure Aotearoa’s young people have every chance for a future that’s bright. It’s so pleasing to see that Sharon and Gary’s efforts have been recognised in this way and we’ll eagerly await news from the awards night.”

For more information, contact Barnardos Foster Care Service Manager, Nancy Jelavich, on (09) 625 3747.

Barnardos increases child helpline capacity following Kaikōura quakes

24 November 2016

Barnardos service 0800 What’s Up, New Zealand’s most accessed counselling helpline for children, has more counsellors available following the November 14 Kaikōura Earthquake and the resulting aftershocks.

The increase follows a number of young callers getting in touch because of the stress and anxiety they’d been feeling since the 7.8 magnitude shake.

“For children in the most affected areas, the trauma of living through such a life-changing event as the Kaikōura earthquake can really turn their lives upside down,” says 0800 What’s Up team leader Lesley Butler. “We’ve already had a number of young people call and chat online with us because they’re scared, having trouble sleeping and feeling uncertain about the future. Our counsellors are able to really help by listening and helping them through this difficult time.”

Helping young people in the aftermath of earthquakes is something the Barnardos team have plenty of experience with. The February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch saw a big increase in calls to 0800 What’s Up, with the earthquake becoming one of the most called–about issues for that year. Counsellors were still taking calls from youngsters two years after the event.

“We know that the effects of living through a large earthquake can last for some time,” says Lesley. “We want children to know that, if they need to talk to someone outside their friends and family, they can call us and speak to a trained counsellor who can support them and help them develop coping strategies to deal with any worries they may be having.”

For further information contact Barnardos Operations Manager, Karen Billings, on (04) 801 1677.

0800 What’s Up counsellors are available to talk or Web Chat 365 days a year. Call free on 0800 WHATSUP (0800 942 8787) from 1pm-10pm Mon-Fri or 3pm-10pm on the weekends. Web Chat is open 5-10pm every day.

Children's helpline celebrates milestone

29 September 2016

0800 What’s Up, one of New Zealand’s most accessed children’s helplines, has celebrated 15 years of providing support, information and advice to young people.

A service of Barnardos New Zealand, What’s Up took its first calls on 22 September 2001. Since then it has been open for nearly 5,500 consecutive days (including Christmas), has taken many hundreds of thousands of calls and racked up millions of minutes in support of young people.

“15 years is quite a legacy and something we’re very proud of,” says What’s Up Team Leader Lesley Butler. “With us having been around for all that time it’s amazing to think that some of the kids we were talking to back when we started could now have children of their own.”

Lesley has been with the helpline since nearly the beginning and she’s seen a lot of change since 2001.

Indeed, What’s Up are always looking for new ways to connect with and help their young clients. In 2014 they launched a new Web Chat service which proved instantly popular and has already completed thousands of chat sessions.

One thing that hasn’t really changed is the prevalence of bullying as an issue. In 2011 it was the second most frequent issue (behind peer relationships) and today it is the number one problem children call about.

Bullying is a massive issue for many of our callers and with the growing prevalence of online bullying it’s now a bigger problem than ever,” says Lesley. “Being the victim of bullying can be an incredibly lonely and distressing time for a child. When young people are being bullied they can be at a loss as to how to deal with the problem and have nowhere else to turn. It’s really rewarding being here to provide them with ideas and methods to help them through this time.

Other prominent issues for young callers include relationships, sexual activity, self-harm and physical health. Since the very beginning, it’s been What’s Up’s policy that children can call about absolutely anything at all — no problem is too big or small. Kids can even just phone up for a chat.

But there are also moments that are deadly serious for the What’s Up team and every year they receive more than 100 ‘duty of care’ calls, where the caller or someone else is in imminent danger of harm. In these instances, the counsellor will involve emergency services to ensure the young person’s safety.

The job of a What’s Up counsellor can be challenging and often they don’t see the final results of their work and advice, but they always hope for a successful outcome. Sometimes they’ll also receive affirmation of their work that makes it all worthwhile.

“Recently we received a wonderful letter,” says Lesley. “It was from a woman who used our service a decade ago. This was during a particularly hard time of her life where she was battling depression and anxiety. Like all our callers, she was able to regularly talk to the same counsellor about her troubles. Her letter said that the support she received from our counsellor was fundamental to her growth as a person and that she was so grateful for the support and kindness she received. Now she herself is going into a career in social work and counselling — it was so fantastic to know that What’s Up was able to make a difference in her life.”

0800 What’s Up counsellors are available to talk or Web Chat 365 days a year. Call free on 0800 WHATSUP (0800 942 8787) from 1pm-10pm Mon-Fri or 3pm-10pm on the weekends. Web Chat is open 5-10pm every day.

Media enquiries

For all media enquiries, contact Barnardos Communications and Media Advisor, Michelle Smith.

P: 027 5557608


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