Mayor hopes for talks on children's village

Tim Cadogan
Tim Cadogan
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan is ready to battle to keep the Roxburgh children's village open.

Stand Children's Services Tu Maia Whanau announced last week it was proposing to close its children's villages at Roxburgh and Otaki at the end of June.

Mr Cadogan said he hoped discussions could be held with appropriate ministers to find funding to keep the two children's villages open.

"I don't believe that the battle is lost at this stage," he said.

Mr Cadogan said he was encouraged to read that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was planning to speak to Minister for Children, Tracey Martin, about the issue.

"It may be that once more senior heads such as hers are made aware of the consequences of the $3 million shortfall of funding it may be able to be reversed."

Oranga Tamariki general manager for partnerships, Peter Galvin, said Stand received $14.4 million a year from Oranga Tamariki.

Of that, $9 million was allocated to seven village-based therapeutic services and a school holiday programme based at the villages, including the two villages in Otaki and Roxburgh.

Mr Galvin said Stand identified a $3 million shortfall before the last financial year.

"We agreed to split that $3 million cost pressure for this year while we figured out how we were going to cope with that for next year."

Stand had hoped to bid for additional funding but "as that process wound through, we realised that our funding had to be committed into our main priorities for this year and for next year, which are care arrangements for kids that have been removed from their homes, like foster care arrangements or permanent care arrangements".

Intensive services of the kind offered by the children's village would not be the focus until after 2020, Mr Galvin said.

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