Celia said she wanted to bring about societal change through working with women, and particularly to improve the lives being led by women at the heart of at risk families. Celia Lashlie Projects is determined to support those who work and live to make positive change

for women and families.

Cecelia Margaret Mary “Celia” Lashlie (1952-2015)

Kia ora tātou katoa

Welcome to Policy Watch and for this edition we begin with a reflection on the work of Celia Lashlie, humanitarian, social justice advocate, social researcher and author.

The recent launch of Celia Lashlie Projects reminds us of  Celia’s mission to educate the public on what goes so terribly wrong for the ‘georgeous’ boys and girls she walked alongside, and what we as a society need to do to bring about positive change.

The recent release of two significant reports on Child, Youth and Family focussed on the very children and young people at the heart of Celia’s work. To their credit, both reports capture the voices of children who have experienced state care and child protection services, and the result would test even the hardest of hearts.

Celia Lashlie understood the need to ‘invest’ in children long before it became policy hip to use the word. As a prison warden at Rimutuka Prison and manager of Christchurch’s Women’s Prisons she witnessed first hand the damage of poverty, family violence and the challenges mothers face transitioning their children from adolescence to adulthood.

The Celia Lashlie Projects promises an array of resources aimed to inspire others to continue her work. Here at NZCCSS we look forward to seeing the legacy of Celia’s heart-felt mission to make positive change for women and families continue.

What’s in this edition:

Modernising Child Youth and Family: Expert Panel Interim Report. Child Youth and Family is bracing itself for ‘transformational change’ following the release of this report. It’s a comprehensive report producing little contention over its findings and recommendations. At the end of the day though a child protection system can only go so far to address decades of material deprivation and family poverty.

Stare of Care Report. The report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner paints a bleak picture of life in state care and mirrors many of the concerns raised by in the above CYF interim Report.

We Don’t Stop Caring at 17 petition. Wesley Community Action, Christchurch Methodist Mission, Lifewise, CPAG, Dingwall Trust and Action Station have joined together to support the lifting of the age children leave state care. The CYF Expert Panel has been listening and the issue for young people leaving care at 17 are captured in the interim report.

NZCCSS Submission on Family Violence. There has been a flurry of activity around the NGO sector in response to the Ministry of Justice’s review of family violence legislation. NZCCSS’ submission focussed on the need for the review to include a consideration of structural influences that support the conditions for family violence (i.e poverty, overcrowding, substandard housing conditions, inadequate household income, historic colonisation), along with individual actions, and recommended the increase of public funding on primary prevention strategies, and supported additional pathways for help, aimed at both victims and perpetrators of family violence.

Claim your day. What a difference a day makes! It seems an error on the part of Work and Income has seen benefits commenced after a stand down period a day later than legally required under Section 80BA (4) of the Social Security Act 1964. 18 years later and everyone has now caught on! The error is due to be rectified via a quick legislative amendment but Kay Brereton, Advocate, is calling beneficiaries to claim their day back and has produced resources to

More emergency housing for Auckland – The Government has announced further funding for emergency housing in Auckland of $2 million over the next two years. The aim is to fund up to 120 extra short-term emergency housing places run by non-government housing organisations based on a model of emergency housing already being used in Christchurch. The Ministry of Social Development is asking for proposals from housing providers to utilise this funding with the Request for Proposals (RFP) closing on 16th November 2015.

Your feedback needed on ‘Our Place. ‘Our Place’ is the proposed sector strategy for community housing. The goal of the strategy is to house 50,000 more people in community housing by 2020. What do you think of this goal?

NZCCSS Services for Older People Conference, 12th-13th May –  Planning is in full swing for our 2016 conference. We have some keynote speakers confirmed and the workshop programme is taking shape. Keep an eye out for updates on conference preparation on our new Valuing People Living Well Conference page.

How well supported are older people – A report by Auckland University suggests that the majority of our elderly population are very much part of groups who provide the emotional support we all need to live healthy and fulfilled lives. However, this good news is tempered by the significant minority of older people who are not well supported.

A day to celebrate older people – Minister for Senior Citizens Hon Maggie Barry has urged all New Zealanders to value the special contribution that older people make to our families and communities.

15 years of friendship and support – September 2015 marked the 15th anniversary of The Selwyn Foundation’s ‘Selwyn Centres’ charitable outreach programme, which aims to combat the problems of loneliness and social isolation of elderly people living alone in the community.

Wellington’s 14 hour homeless event – 8 October – The Downtown Community Ministry (DCM), the Soup Kitchen, Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust, Wellington Night Shelter and The Salvation Army have joined together to raise funds for their work with homeless people and to raise awareness about Wellington City Council’s Te Mahana initiative to eradicate homelessness in the city. This event also supports World Homeless Day on 10 October 2015.

Interest loans help debt trap – Budgeting Services and organisations like Nga Tangata Microfinance support people to escape the debt trap. The Salvation Army’s 2015 State of the Nation Report showed that average household consumer and credit card debt rose by almost 5% in 2014, to $12,200. One of the important ways for families to get ahead financially is become “debt smart” and getting out of high interest debt faster is one of the key steps.

What’s On:

Making Community Housing Happen: IMPACT conference 21- 23 October 2015. The Community Housing Aotearoa conference will provide you with the opportunity to engage with the community housing sector creating the environment to develop community solutions, create partnerships and transform how our communities respond to housing need in Aotearoa.

CPAG’s Hikoi for homes on 21st Nov – Every Child deserves the best start in a warm, dry, secure home. This is the key message of CPAG’s campaign for healthy and affordable homes.

Careeforce Workforce Development Conference, 2nd-3rd Nov. Gain the skills and tools you need to improve your workforce now and into the future.

NZ Dementia Summit, 5th-6th Nov. Dementia is one of the most serious health and social care issues of the 21st century. This is your opportunity to have a say about the future of dementia care in New Zealand.