Keeping your kids safe

It's everyone's job to make sure children are safe and surrounded by people who care. No one needs to do the big job of being a parent by themselves. We're here to help you if you're worried about your children's safety. Raising children is a great job. It's also a big job, and no one can do it on their own. It's nice to know that even when things get really tough, you're never alone.

Don't be shy to ask friends and family for help

The thing that helps the most is having friends and family who offer a hand and provide a listening ear.

When children are young, especially before they start school, it's easy for parents to become isolated and for problems to go unnoticed. To keep from ever feeling isolated or overwhelmed, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I find an extra pair of eyes to look out for my children if I need it?
  • Who can I go to for support?

Especially when kids are little, the more people you can trust to look out for them, the safer they'll be. Think about five people you know who could be there to help out with your child. Here's a useful saying: "five pairs of eyes for under-fives".

What to do if you're worried

  • Never be afraid to ask for help. You may want to talk to someone in your social circle (at church, a neighbour or a friend) or your child's teacher.
  • If you're worried and don't know who to turn to, there are lots of groups in your community to help you. They can help with things like parenting issues, and support you if you're struggling. Call anytime to share your worries and ask for advice. Check the People who want to help section.
  • If you think your family's problems are becoming serious, give us a call on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459).

You will be able to talk to a trained social worker who will listen to your concerns. We can then work with your family to help you, or put you in touch with people in the community who can give practical support.

We can help with things like:

  • parents who are struggling to cope
  • kids being hurt or yelled at
  • adults hitting or yelling at each other
  • drug and alcohol problems
  • mental health problems
  • children left home alone
  • the care and safety of children.

Don't be afraid of asking for help: Please don't ever feel too ashamed, distressed or caught up in the situation to ask for help. We want to help - without passing judgment. Let us know that you're worried. We'll do what we can to help your family be safe and strong.

Getting help

All children are different, and it's not always easy to tell when they have a problem. If you have any worries at all about your child's health, development or behaviour, it's wise to seek help.

We all need help with our children at some stage. Sometimes another parent can help, but there are times when you need professional advice.

Here are some suggestions about where to go for help when you need it:

  • a family doctor
  • public health nurse
  • playcentre, kindergarten, kohanga reo, or school teacher.

You may also want to contact one of the following organisations:

  • Plunket is New Zealand's largest provider of support services for the development, health and wellbeing of children under the age of five. For 24-hour help with any issues concerning parenting children under five, call 0800 933 922.
  • Barnardos offers a range of child and family services, and early childhood care and education in communities throughout New Zealand.
    • For information about family counselling call 0800 4 PARENT (0800 472 7368)
    • For information about childcare, call 0800 222 345
  • Māori health providers deliver health and disability services to mainly, but not only, Māori clients.
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux provide free, impartial and confidential information, assistance and referral.
  • Special Education Service for special education groups and resources.

What happens when I call Child, Youth and Family?

When you call us you will be able to talk directly with trained social workers. They will ask you questions to find out what's going on with your family, and find out what you're worried about.

They will then look into the situation to find out what may be happening. We'll discuss whether we need to work with your family, or put you in touch with people in your community that can help.

Together we can help our children:

  • be safe from harm and well cared for
  • be strong as part of a loving family and whānau
  • thrive by helping children be the best they can be.

We understand that calling us could be a little worrying, so please feel free to ask the social worker any questions you have.

"The social worker helped us look at ourselves as a family. We just needed to have help with knowing what our children need, and we realised that our family is full of strength." Mother working with Child, Youth and Family