2016 Special Awards: Child, Youth and Family Senior Advisor speaks about her journey in social work and the need to protect vulnerable children

Supplied by Child, Youth and Family

Wintec’s best and brightest students were celebrated recently at special awards ceremonies – a chance to recognise the outstanding graduates from each discipline at the institution.

This year, Child, Youth and Family’s Senior Advisor Waikato Operations, Julie Peake, was invited to be guest speaker at the Centre for Health and Social Practice’s special awards ceremony on March 22.  Included in the audience of around 150 were students, their whānau, Wintec staff, council, sponsors and other representatives from the community, including Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe and Labour List MP Sue Moroney.

Julie’s speech outlined her initial experience at Wintec – then the Waikato Technical Institute – when she was just 16, and again in the 90s when she retrained as a social worker.  “I never imagined in 1984 as an apprentice hairdresser from the rural King Country, that 32 years later I would be standing here addressing a group such as this,” Julie said in her speech.

She highlighted the need for all professions represented in the room - Nursing, Midwifery, Counselling, Social Work, Mental Health and Addictions – to take responsibility for protecting vulnerable children. 

“All our professions are experiencing change and will continue to do so.  An example of change relevant to all of us sitting in this room is the current focus on protecting vulnerable children.   We can and will work together to make this a reality, and make this country a better place for our mokopuna,” she told the audience.

Wintec’s Team Manager of Social Practice, Marlana Maru, said Julie’s speech resonated with the audience.  “It was relevant, appropriate and pitched well for staff and students,” she said.

Marlana said the close relationship that CYF and Wintec share helps to keep the teaching “real” at the institution.

Child, Youth and Family and District Health Boards make up the largest employers of graduating students, and Marlana said that the partnership between CYF and Wintec gives the students insight into the full spectrum of work Child, Youth and Family undertakes – including care and protection, youth justice and adoptions.

“We absolutely value the partnership we have with Child, Youth and Family on every level,” Marlana added, “from practice-based to the strategic level.”