Good cause: Birthright
Birthright New Zealand supports single parent families and their focus is on allowing children to reach their potential. Last year Birthright Hutt Valley celebrated its 50th birthday – a half century doing good!
I spoke to the lovely Christine who manages Birthright Hutt Valley to find out more.
Describe to us Birthright’s central aims
We provide support services to assist families headed by one parent (Mum, Dad, grandparent or caregiver). Our aim is to help the family, particularly those who are under stress or in need, and to benefit the children.
Why do you think single parent families struggle and what services do you provide?
The cost of raising children in today’s society is very high. For one-parent families, whether they are in paid employment or receiving a benefit, they have very little option for increasing their income. Many of our families are isolated from other support and find things difficult at times. This is sometimes compounded by traumatic events, difficult relationship breakdowns or health issues.
We provide a home-based support service where qualified workers work alongside families to assist them to resolve issues they are facing. We help with support, information, advocacy, practical resources such as clothing and household items, referrals to specialist services, opportunities for family activities and programmes for children.
It was Birthright’s 50th birthday last year. How have you grown as an organisation in recent times?
The makeup of New Zealand families has changed greatly in the 50 years since Birthright started, however, there remains a continuing demand for our support systems. Around half of all children experience being in a one-parent family situation at some stage, so the feeling of being a “different” type of family is no longer there.
Birthright has changed over the years to meet the changing needs of families. We have experienced workers with skills and qualifications to assist families with the complex issues presented, work closer with other local groups and are more adaptable to the changing community needs. We are a more professional and accountable organisation.
How long have you worked for Birthright and why do you enjoy working for Birthright?
I started working for Birthright at the end of 1991 as a fieldworker. I am now the Manager, but still get to interact with many families regularly. I believe Birthright makes a real difference as we work in a holistic way to address the many and varied needs of families. Sometimes just good information can really help a family, while others benefit from intensive social work support. Being able to provide opportunities for children is very rewarding.
Although we a fairly small community group, we have close to 500 families throughout the Hutt alley registered with us. We assist a significant number of people in our area. I would like to see Birthright growing stronger nationally and becoming a recognised voice for those parenting on their own.
Happy Birthday, Birthright!
I attended and filmed Birthright’s Christmas party at the end of last year (here is the video link). It was a beautiful day and the kids full of energy, humour and excitement. It is Birthright’s focus on children and support that makes it a very special organisation.
Congratulations Birthright on making it to a half-century. Many people will be grateful for your years of service.
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