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The closure of the Roxburgh children's village has been confirmed.
Stand Chidren's Services confirmed today that it will close its villages in Roxburgh and Otaki by the end of June 2018.
Stand Chief Executive Dr Fiona Inkpen said it was "immensely sad" to close the villages.
“The villages are one aspect of the services we provide . . . our priority remains supporting children and families to be safe, healthy and functioning well. I want to reassure our children and families that Stand is not going anywhere."
Over 100 people attended a meeting on Friday in Roxburgh, fighting to keep the village open.
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan and Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan were both close to tears as they voiced their anger about the Government breaking its promise to the children of New Zealand.
Dr Inkpen said Stand has not had a funding increase since 2009 and has been meeting operating shortfalls from its own reserves.
Financial pressures increased last year following salary increases for the organisation’s staff.
“Pay rises were a priority for us to retain our specialist staff who support some of the country’s most vulnerable children and families, but had been among the lowest paid in the sector.
“Our people deserve recognition for their work, and we needed to recruit and keep quality staff who make a real difference in children’s lives.”
“Stand has been topping-up the shortfall in Government funding from its own funds for many years, using prudent financial management and the sale of unused land."
Minister for Children Tracey Martin told Stand the Government recognised the value of the organisation and its work, but the funding required could not be secured at this time because of restrictions on the Government Budget.
The closures mean 63 jobs would be lost across both regions and 380 children a year will miss out on the Children’s Village trauma focused treatment programme.
“We believe there is no alternative service providing the same support for these children. Our focus now will be rebuilding our service in these regions so children who have experienced significant childhood adversity can get the help they really need,” said Dr Inkpen.
“We are offering redundancy and staff can apply for any vacancy we have. Oranga Tamariki has also offered to identify employment opportunities for staff to consider.
“Our people understand the situation, and are being courageous in working to keep supporting children. Their main concern is for the children and they’re deeply sad that the work they do cannot continue. Naturally they are anxious about their own futures as well."
The organisation will continue to operate its Intensive Family Wraparound services in the central and southern regions, but the residential trauma focused treatment programme that is unique to Stand will stop at the end of June. The Kidzacool service for grandparents raising grandchildren will also stop.
All children and families currently working with Stand will continue to receive the Intensive Family Wraparound Service, Dr Inkpen said.