Barnardos was set up in England in 1866 by Thomas Barnardo. He was concerned by the plight of children in the slums of London’s East End, and devoted himself to improving their lives. He established Dr Barnardo’s homes for destitute children, which not only provided food and shelter, but also the tools and education children needed to build themselves a better future.

Barnardos New Zealand opened its first child-focused service in Mangere, South Auckland in 1972. Since then it has grown to be the country’s largest, not-for-profit child-focused organisation. It offers early childhood education and care, as well as a range of child and family services including family counselling, family support, foster care, parent education courses, childrens contact services, and a parent help line.

Barnardos philosophy is Ko Ngā Tamariki I Te Tuatahi – ‘Children Come First’.

What does Barnardos do?

Barnardos offers various services throughout New Zealand including:

Early Childhood Education and Care Services

Barnardos New Zealand is the country’s largest not-for-profit provider of early childhood education and care. All their services are approved by the Ministry of Education and include early learning centres, home based care, and nanny services.

Early Learning Centres

Barnardos Early Learning Centres offer quality early childhood education and care in a warm, welcoming, and safe centre environment. Based on Te Whāriki, (the National Early Childhood Curriculum), trained and experienced staff develop learning programmes for each child. Barnardos centres feature low staff to child ratios, affordable rates, and cater for both casual and full-time care.

Barnardos specialist early education advisers and management provide on-going support and ensure best practice is followed. The welfare of each child is their utmost concern.

KidStart Home–Based Care and Learning

KidStart is an education and care service for children aged from birth to five years, and is provided in the homes of carefully selected, vetted, and trained caregivers. KidStart offers flexible hours, convenient locations, and a ratio of one caregiver to a maximum of four children. Caregivers have regular contact with a qualified and registered teacher, and help to form the country’s largest home-based care service.

Number One Nannies

Barnardos Number One Nannies service matches families in Wellington with carefully selected, vetted, and trained nannies. Learning programmes are developed for each child based on Te Whāriki, (the National Early Childhood Curriculum), and qualified and registered teachers regularly visit.

Child and Family Services

In addition to early childhood care and education, Barnardos offers a number of services to support older children, and families generally. Not all services are available in all regions, so if you want to know more you should contact your local Barnardos or visit Child and Family services include:

Out of School Care and Recreation

After school and school holiday care is offered by Barnardos in Gisborne, Nelson and Waitakere, under the ‘OSCAR’ umbrella.

Children’s Contact Service

The Children’s Contact Service provides a supervised and safe environment for children to visit a parent or family member with whom they don’t have day to day contact.

Family Counselling

Family Counselling is a child-centred service for families affected by grief, bereavement, family separation, adoption, children’s developmental and behavioural needs, and any other life crises.

Family Support

Family Support is a social work support service which helps families to identify and make changes to improve the well-being of their children. The programmes are individually tailored by trained and experienced support workers, who visit families in their own homes. Family Support is designed to help develop family resilience, reinforce positive parenting, and give families access to community resources.

Footsteps to Feeling Safe

Footsteps to Feeling safe is a programme to help children aged five and upwards work through the effects of being a witness, or survivor of domestic violence.

Foster Care

Barnardos provides short and long-term Foster Care for children whose families are dealing with crisis. The strictest selection and recruitment standards ensure children benefit as much as possible from their time in foster care.

Parent Education Courses

Barnardos Parent Education courses are designed to help parents understand their children’s needs, improve family communication, and reinforce positive parenting.

Parent Help Line

0800 4 PARENT (0800 4 727 368) is a free telephone advice service for parents in the in greater Auckland region. It operates 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Parents as First Teachers

Parents as First Teachers is a home based service which provides support and guidance for parents during the first three years of their child’s life.

Social Workers in Schools

Barnardos have social workers which work within schools to provide early assistance to children in need.

Specialist Group Homes

Barnardos manages three Specialist Group Homes for teenagers needing care and protection, under contract to Child, Youth and Family.

Te Poutama Arahi Rangatahi – the Steps to Guide Youth

Te Poutama Arahi Rangatahi – the Steps to Guide Youth is a residential programme involving treatment, supervision, care and education of high-risk sexually abusive male adolescents, and is funded by Child Youth and Family.

The Family Advocacy and Information (FAIR) Centre

The Family Advocacy and Information (FAIR) Centre provides information sheets on financial, social, and legal issues relevant to children, families and whānau. They are available on subscription and at the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux.

How is Barnardos funded?

Barnardos is a not-for-profit organisation which depends greatly on the generosity of the public for many of its Child and Family Services. If you’d like to donate money to Barnardos or organise a fundraising event, please visit and check out the fundraising section.

How can I get their help?

You can find out more about Barnardos New Zealand’s services by visiting its website or contacting your local Barnardos office (listed in the White Pages telephone directory).

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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