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March 11 - Blog

Approximate reading time: 2 minutes

Having now got to the end of our first quarter we are using the try, learn, and adjust approach process to make some changes to how we operate as a team of Connectors. No doubt this will be the first of many changes as we work to get our processes right.

The decision to make changes has been based on taking a hard look at what is going well and working to remedy the ‘not so well’ aspects.

These include – we are struggling to really get to the core work of Connectors largely because of the very high demand, the amount of unmet need and unresolved trauma people are living with and also the expectations people have of what this new system is going to be able to deliver, especially in respect of funding. 

We need to strengthen our community development capacity. We will then be able to give greater support to people who are seeking opportunities in the community, including housing, employment, social roles and relationships.

Over the next 6 months, funding that Ministry of Social Development has for transition, very high needs, job support and a portion of the community participation funding will be under Mana Whaikaha and will be available to people in their personal budgets.

This provides an opportunity that has never existed before, especially for school leavers or young people looking at what adult life might be like for them, to extend their options outside of the traditional day services. To support this transition, we have established a team of Connectors who have a particular interest and expertise in building community opportunities for people to work as a ‘transition’ team.

We are now also in a position of being able to collect and use more robust data. What we now know is that 61% of connector time is being spent with young people under the age of 21. This is wonderful because it means we can invest early in supporting people to build their life opportunities before any low expectations or dependencies are established. 

We also now know that the percentage of young children under the age of 8 years, had increased from 5% under the old system to 15% under Mana Whaikaha.  It is these youngsters and their families who have a unique opportunity to design entirely different expectations and roles for disabled people. To be able to invest in this age group and see families hold on the hope and vision they have for their children is very encouraging. To ensure we can make the level of investment that is required in these young children we have established a Connector team to focus on young children.