Canterbury DHB Chief Executive, David Meates, today welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement of an additional $28 million over the next three years to support the wellbeing of children in Years 1-8.
"We've been concerned about the impact of the quakes on the wellbeing of children in Canterbury for some time now. To date there have been a number of agencies and individuals involved in supporting Canterbury kids, including our own small School-Based Mental Health team who have done an amazing job.
"This new targeted funding will allow us to provide more and earlier support for schools to take a holistic approach to the wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable community members. Many of these children have grown up in households where parents have had to focus considerable time and energy on dealing with significant post-quake stressors such as ongoing battles with insurance and house repairs. This is in addition to the anxiety and fear of experiencing the many thousands of quakes which have hit our region.
"This boost to the number and range of health professionals and support workers focused on the wellbeing of young children will see those in need receive support sooner. We will be working closely with the Ministry of Education to design a system that works for children, their families/whānau, caregivers and teachers.
"I am thrilled that Sir John Hansen chair of the Canterbury Clinical Network will lead the development work on this initiative. While much of the detail is still to be worked through, a decision has been made to start with two Kāhui Ako [Communities of Learning] – Tamai located in Christchurch East and Hornby in the West.
"We are keen to retain and build on the expertise already in place and envisage a team which could include social workers, nurses or occupational therapists and others as part of the programme.
"Before the programme is rolled out to all quake-affected schools in Greater Christchurch and North Canterbury, consistent ways of working, along with appropriate training will be developed to ensure that what we create is sustainable and effective.
"Focusing on the wellbeing of children is an investment in the future of our community, and we are committed to getting this programme up and running as soon as possible. Until the roll-out is complete we will continue to support schools through existing services," David Meates said.
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