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Birthright is a national organisation working to support, strengthen and advocate for one-parent families. According to New Zealand census statistics, there has been a 20% increase in the number of one-parent families in the past 10 years.

Birthright is a community welfare organisation dedicated to the well-being of the children of one parent families. We hold that our children are our future and should have the opportunity to develop to give their best. We believe that children of one-parent families are entitled to the same “Birthright” as other New Zealand children. That is, a good start in life, help in times of crisis and the opportunity to reach their full potential. We also believe the personal growth and improving circumstances of their parents will enhance this process.

Many people mistakenly believe that Birthright is involved with rejoining adopted people and their biological parents. Although this is very worthy, it is not at all what Birthright does.

What does it do?

Each branch provides a range of services appropriate to their locality. These may include:

  • Counselling and social work
  • Recycled clothing and household goods
  • Workshops for single parents on relevant subjects e.g. parenting skills, confidence building, goal setting, life skills and home management programmes
  • Budgeting assistance
  • Referrals to recognised agencies for specific problems e.g. grief, child abuse, behaviour problems
  • Ongoing support groups for parents
  • Self-esteem programmes for children
  • Some financial support when available with school requirements and holiday camps
  • Tertiary scholarships for children and retraining grants for single parents

You can help by:

  • Offering to volunteer
  • Sending a donation to your nearest Birthright office or to the National Office
  • Becoming a member of Birthright
  • Encouraging your friends to support your local Birthright branch
  • Telling any one-parent families you believe may need assistance about Birthright
  • If you would like to help, call your local branch

Social Work Support

Some areas offer a home-based social work support service to families parenting on their own. Regular support is provided with a social worker visiting families in their own homes to prevent crises from developing. The aim is to assess the strengths and difficulties for the families then a goal setting plan is developed. Immediate issues, such as lack of food or unsuitable accommodation are identified and prioritised.

Children’s Self Esteem Programme

The children’s self-esteem building programme encourages children to become active participants in skill-building and problem solving activities. It is buzzing with ideas and suggestions for converting problems into skills. It offers a unique way for children to discover themselves and their creativity through easy and enjoyable activities. The programme consists of four components, outdoors activities, camping, workshops and family activities. Contact Birthright in your area to find out what is available locally.

Parenting

Parenting programmes recognise the value of parents when faced with the challenges of parenting on their own.

Parents are given the opportunities to share their perspectives on the struggles they experience; these personal contributions are moving, thought-provoking and revealing. The programme addresses the negative outcomes associated with physical discipline, promoting non-violent attitudes towards children.

Developing the capabilities of parents to care for their families through improved life skills, positive parenting, and an increased understanding of their children’s developmental stages all helps in eliminating child abuse and family violence. Contact Birthright in your area to find out what is available.

Life Skills

The Life Skills programmes allow staff to work alongside and educate families on the services available to them, improving links within their community and giving a sense of belonging.

One of the many aims is to assist families in the process of change, looking at possible solutions to their problems and exploring values and the choices they make. The programme reinforces the important principles that we all have strengths, and that our strengths are our best resources for overcoming problems.

The programme teaches families the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to cope better with the circumstances in which they find themselves, so that they can better plan for the care of their children. Contact Birthright in your area to find out what is available.

Adults’ Self Esteem Building Programme

The adults’ self esteem programme He Puawai, meaning To Blossom, is aimed at developing and building beliefs and values, allowing each individual to take the steps forward in life changes. Increasing the capacity to cope with stress, enhance parents’ ability to make informed choices about care for their children and to work towards family functioning. Contact your local branch for details on what is available in your community.

How is it funded?

Birthright is a non-profit organisation which receives funding from Community Trusts, personal donations from the public and fundraising activities.

How can I get their help?

There are 21 branches around New Zealand. Contact details for all the branches are available through the website listed below. Birthright’s national office is in Wellington. Contact the national office on 04 802 5377 or email birthrightnz@callplus.net.nz

How much does it cost?

Birthright’s services are free in your local area.

Link to the Birthright Website

www.birthright.org.nz

This is the website for the national Birthright organisation. It contains contact details for the 21 branches around New Zealand.

The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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