The community sector is stressed out and needs a government that supports them properly, especially in the face of large scale Child Youth and Family (CYF) reform, the Green Party said today.
The ComVoices State of the Sector Survey, released yesterday, shows that almost half of community organisations are worried about their financial viability, with around a quarter of surveyed organisations only be able to sustain their organisation through reserves for a year or less.
“When the majority of notifications to CYF go back to the community sector, and the National Government plans to further devolve this work, it is unacceptable to underfund this core work when these families really need help,” Green Party social development spokeswoman Jan Logie said.
“If the CYFs changes are to go ahead, we need to know that there is adequate community support wrapped around the families who need help.
“When the community sector has had an eight year funding freeze by the Government, of course there are going to be cracks emerge, not to mention the large increases in demand many organisations are also facing.
“Travelling around the country talking to people working in the community, I have been increasingly concerned at the visible stress on the faces of so many staff. They have been telling me they are concerned that their caseloads have become unmanageable because of funding pressures and they are worried their practice is compromised and that something might go wrong.
“When the Government doesn’t support the community sector, the children and families who really need this support don’t get the help that they need.
“The Government has been doing a line by line review of all community contracts but have made no allowances for the impact of chronic underfunding.
“Thousands of New Zealanders depend on organisations like Women’s Refuge and local family violence organisations to help their families.
“The community sector is not just a cheaper form of government, their value is in their independence, community connection and responsive practice. To be effective, they need ongoing certainty and proper funding.
“We need a well-connected and resourced community sector to ensure that children and families are getting the services they need to thrive,” Ms Logie said.