SWiS: helping students, helping families

Posted on May 26, 2018 by Iosis

“One of the things that makes me smile as a Social Worker in Schools is being able to make a child’s day. There’s nothing quite like seeing their faces light up when they receive a new pair of shoes and warm rain jacket.”
Kathy Hori, Social Worker in Schools.

It’s a typical work day for Kathy as she goes about her job as a Social Worker in Schools at Papakura Normal Primary. As we talk to Kathy, she gently reminds Jacob* that he’s not in class when he should be. Kathy knows Jacob well. Like many of the children SWiS works with, he has behavioural issues resulting from problems at home.

“The families we see here struggle with a multitude of issues. Financial problems, housing issues, the lack of basic essentials. We’ve also got several mums going through legal processes with their partners and you can see how that impacts on a child’s behaviour in the classroom,” she says.

Kathy has been working at Papakura Normal School for six years with children ranging from years 0 to 8. Her office is no ordinary office, it’s a space for parents to engage; it’s a time out space for the kids she works with, and a place to build relationships. “I’ve had mums just pop in for a coffee and a chat. They know that my office is a space where they can come and have a conversation about anything. And it’s from those conversations that relationships with these families start to develop and trust starts to build.”

Kathy also appreciates the fact that she can access the range of services at Iosis to help with the students’ journey. “It’s great having a wraparound service at Iosis to help our families. I often make use of the counselling, parent support, community social work and budgeting services,” she says. “And some of Iosis’s services are mobile – that’s really important because some families don’t have the means or the transport to get around.”

Kathy is constantly encouraged with the work that she does with her students. “My role means that parents learn that a Social Worker is not only there for negative reasons. I’m trying to ensure parents aren’t afraid to talk to us – that we’re here to support them through whatever’s going on in their life.”

* Name changed to protect identity

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