Chil­dren are top pri­or­ity

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By ADEN MILES

To­day marks Na­tional So­cial Worker Day and for Toko­roa-based care and pro­tec­tion so­cial worker An­gela Evans-McLeod, her main pri­or­ity is en­sur­ing chil­dren are safe and happy.

For five years, An­gela Evans-McLeod, from Mata­mata, has been a care and pro­tec­tion so­cial worker for Child, Youth and Fam­ily.

‘‘The wel­fare of chil­dren is the care and pro­tec­tion of chil­dren,’’ Ms Evans-McLeod said.

‘‘So we in­ves­ti­gate the claims that come in and no­ti­fi­ca­tions made, and the no­ti­fi­ca­tion also de­pends on what hap­pens af­ter that.

‘‘Ini­tially I was a care­giver and I used to deal with at-risk chil­dren.’’

She de­cided to work on the other side of car­ing and opted to be a so­cial worker.

The 47-year-old mother of four said her job can be chal­leng­ing.

‘‘ Some of the fam­i­lies can be chal­leng­ing be­cause some­times you are deal­ing with gen­er­a­tions whether it be of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, sex­ual abuse, al­co­hol is­sues, so to make life bet­ter for the chil­dren you have to work with the par­ents. Some par­ents are re­sis­tant to change.’’

She said work­ing in a multi-cul­tural area sees her deal­ing with a va­ri­ety of peo­ple.

‘‘I think one high­light will be where a grand­mother who had her grand­daugh­ter in care for quite a few years and didn’t have that faith in her­self that she couldn’t do this with­out our help be­cause she had be­come so in­grained in the depart­ment that she lost her faith in her par­ent­ing role.’’

Ms Evans-McLeod said af­ter some en­cour­age­ment, the girl and her grand­mother have both blos­somed.

HELP­ING HAND: Toko­roa so­cial worker An­gela Evan­sMcLeod is a care and pro­tec­tion so­cial worker for Child, Youth and Fam­ily.

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