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Struggling North Otago families will soon have access to services aimed at providing "lasting help".
Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) Family Works has appointed social worker Jodi Ryan on a part-time basis to work alongside Family Works staff running the internationally-accredited Incredible Years parenting programme.
She will work in the community in a "collaborative agency approach" with North Otago Buddy Programme co-ordinator Christine Moffat and other community agencies.
Ms Ryan has two sons at St Kevin's College and has a background in the New Zealand Police and Probation Service as a social worker.
The organisation anticipates she will provide services up the Waitaki Valley once her role in the area has been better established.
Presbyterian Support Otago chief executive Gillian Bremner said Oamaru's first Incredible Years programme, which is being run by Family Works in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, is proving popular with participants.
"Each week it provides parents with a range of strategies to help children regulate their emotions and improve their social skills so they can get along better with peers and adults," she said.
"This is also beneficial for their school progress and makes for a much happier family life."
She said appointing Ms Ryan was a logical step in meeting the emerging needs in the area.
The Incredible Years programme is free and will be run again.