Mana Whānau is a six-month parenting support programme for:
- whānau who are at risk of having their children removed from their care
- whānau who need support to have their children return to their care.
Mana Whānau is a whānau-led, evidence-based programme that works. It’s based on the belief that with the right support and resources most whānau can care for their tamariki safely.
This can be done by reducing toxic levels of stress to free up the mental bandwidth required for parents to care for their tamariki effectively and, where necessary, build new skills and capabilities. Toxic stressors include financial hardship, housing issues and mental distress.
How does Mana Whānau work?
Our kaimahi work alongside parents and their tamariki for six months. The aim of Mana Whānau is that at the end of that time whānau are confident they have what they need to give their tamariki the love, care and attention they need to thrive.
The Mana Whānau team helps parents to:
- Reduce the stress in their life so they have more time and headspace to focus on their tamariki and building their own skills
- Get the practical help they and their tamariki need to have a safe and loving home
- Work on goals, commitments, and priorities for parents and their tamariki
- Find ways of working better with other services so parents get more of what they need
- Build and strengthen relationships and connections with whānau and community so they don’t have to do all of this alone
- Build their confidence, resilience and skills so they and their tamariki are set up for success even when things get tough.
Who can get support through Mana Whānau?
Mana Whānau is for families who are at risk of having their tamariki removed by Oranga Tamariki or have had them removed and need support to have them returned.
All referrals to the programme are made by Oranga Tamariki.
Mana Whānau works best for whānau who want to be part of the programme – whānau who acknowledge that there are issues to address and who want to make changes.
How successful is Mana Whānau?
An evaluation of the first two years of Mana Whānau found that of the 35 whānau who started the programme, 29 either safely retained their tamariki or had them returned from care. As a result, 78 tamariki were able to live safely together with their parents.
Many of their stressors were addressed: they were rehoused, their debts were consolidated and they got the benefits they were entitled to. Many also got access to counselling for mental health and behavioural issues...
The five principles of Mana Whānau
- Maximise choices for whānau: We work with whānau to increase their options and create real choices.
- Whānau-led with tamariki at the heart: We support whānau to work on their goals and priorities while providing a safe environment with tamariki at the heart.
- What it takes: Focussed, intensive, flexible and tailored for each whānau.
- Reduce stress: Helping whānau reduce stresses in their life first so they can then focus on building the skills they need.
- Build skills and resilience: Support to build responsive parenting skills and natural community and whānau supports.