Press Release – Relationship Services
Two recently released reports around family violence and child poverty demonstrate the need for early interventions that support family/whānau relationships, Relationship Services Whakawhanaungatanga Chief Executive Jeff Sanders says.18 January 2012
Call for more support for families/whānau
Two recently released reports around family violence and child poverty demonstrate the need for early interventions that support family/whānau relationships, Relationship Services Whakawhanaungatanga Chief Executive Jeff Sanders says.
He is referring to the Family Violence Death Report Review Committee’s report that shows someone is dying at the hands of a family member every fortnight, and to a report in the Children’s Commissioner’s newsletter, Children addressing issues associated with child poverty.
It is helpful that both of these reports come a time when the Government has two significant reviews underway that impact on outcomes for children and their families – the Green Paper for Vulnerable Children, and a Review of the Family Court that includes in its brief, Family Court counselling. They provide some clear direction for dealing with the issues facing our most vulnerable families/ whānau, he says.
“New Zealand must invest in the health and wellbeing of our children through couples/families, whānau focused early interventions if we are to address the root causes of the distressing outcomes for too many of our families/whānau.
“Research shows that parental relationships are the most important element in terms of fostering the psychological wellbeing of children, as well as encouraging their academic success.
“RSW believes relationship and parenting programmes should be provided from an early age, and to parents through the child’s growing years, to ensure they are raised in a nurturing, supportive environment,” Mr Sanders says.
The report from the longitudinal study of Christchurch children included in the latest Children newsletter shows that family income was associated with a wide range of other disadvantageous features, including higher rates of marital conflict and breakdown. It suggests that the most successful strategy for addressing the issues raised by child poverty requires a two-pronged approach – reducing income equalities as well as addressing the range of psycho social problems more common in low income families. It calls for community based programmes aimed at providing parents with support and assistance for a wide range of issues, including marital problems.
“Research has shown that exposure by children to parental conflict is a major risk factor for child development. Counselling through the Family Court reduces that risk by reducing their exposure to parental conflict,” Mr Sanders says.