Social Workers in Schools expansion underway

Tuesday 3 July 2012, 12:40PM
By Paula Bennett

Extra Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) will begin in schools as the next term starts this month says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett

“The first fifty additional social workers will cover 95 schools in Northland, South Auckland and Hawke’s Bay, starting in the third school term.”

Minister Bennett announced the expansion to SWiS to all decile 1-3 schools last year, with coverage planned to increase from 285 to 673 schools.

‘’We said we’d phase the extra social workers in and these are the first 50 of 149 extra SWiS workers,” says Mrs Bennett.

“School staff can be the first to notice when something isn’t right with a child and with problems increasingly complex and difficult, qualified social workers are needed to address these issues with children and families.”

“Protecting children is an absolute priority and we need enough qualified social workers focused exclusively on children to do that,” says Mrs Bennett

The staged expansion which will be completed by mid-2013 when 673 decile 1-3 schools and around 131,000 children will have access to a social worker.

The second stage of the expansion will cover the South Island, the remainder of Greater Auckland and Kaipara, starting in term one 2013.

The final stage will see the service commencing in schools covering the rest of the North Island at the start of term three of 2013.

It will cost $11.1 million per year to cover the extra 388 schools with SWiS.