Vulnerable children could be at risk if the Queenstown Lakes
Family Centre is forced to close by autumn due to lack of
The centre in Frankton assisted more than 200 children and
youth in the last year alone, but has found the gap between
its expenses and income ever wider, despite a $10,000
injection from the inaugural Harcourts Charity Gala Quiz and
Auction in late September.
The centre is the only service in the Wakatipu providing
specialist services for children, adolescents and their
families with mild to moderate mental health, behavioural and
Although the only service provider of its type in the
Wakatipu, only a small part of its operating budget was
government-funded. Less than 25% was funded by social
services and none from health.
The centre as a charity continued to be affected by lower
community fund returns with only a small part of the funds
applied for this year being granted.
This financial situation is against a background of
increasing demand on the core services, which exceed
capacity, with waiting lists for most services last year.
One of the services at risk is the community clinics, now run
in three primary schools and Happiness House.
Queenstown Primary School principal Lyn Bird said in a
statement the community clinic project has been extremely
successful since it started at Queenstown Primary in 2011.
Many children were seen through the service and there was a
''Having an on-site social worker is a huge asset to the
school, students and the community,'' Dr Bird said.
''If this service ceased to exist, there would be a large gap
in accessing services for vulnerable children.
''Alongside this, the impact on the children currently
receiving services would be detrimental.''
Centre staff support children in making new friends,
excessive worrying, shyness, new experiences, frequent
tearfulness, clinginess and group situations and support
families with grief and loss, their feeling overwhelmed with
parenting, sibling rivalry, sleep-deprivation, preparing
children for parental separation or divorce, feelings of
anger and blended families.
The centre provided clinical services to an average of 280
families each year since opening its doors seven years ago.
It provided information and advice to a further 200 people
There have been 6315 visits and counting to the its website
since it was launched in March 2011.