Plea for help

Fought for her custody, now fighting for her future.

Fought for her custody, now fighting for her future.

File picture

A four-year-old Gisborne girl is not allowed to attend her daycare centre because her behaviour “scares the kids and teachers”.

The little girl’s 24-year-old mother is expected to get life imprisonment when she appears for sentence in Christchurh on Wednesday after stabbing and killing her partner (not the father of the girl) on Christmas Day 2016.

The girl is being raised by her grandparents, who both work full-time.

They have had to take her to work with them because she is not allowed back to daycare until funding for one-on-one care is provided.

It is a terrible situation, says the grandfather.

The little girl has behavioural issues, an attachment disorder, and is clinically deaf but has recently been fitted with hearing aids.

The Ministry of Education support person for the Gisborne region had gone “above and beyond” to help them, said the grandfather. But they were hampered by the system.

MoE deputy secretary sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said they were working with the little girl’s whanau to find an inclusive early education setting for her.

“She is beginning to flourish as a direct result of her whanau’s commitment to her education and wellbeing.

“Our specialists will continue to provide support to her and her whanau as long as it is required.”

MoE funding is not offered at early childhood education (ECE) level and when she starts primary school the maximum funded care is seven hours a week.

Ms Casey said ECE was non-compulsory and was provided by a mix of community-owned and private organisations.

“Services should make all reasonable efforts to collaborate with parents and, where appropriate, family or whanau of enrolled children in relation to the learning and development of and decision-making about those children.”

The family have started a givealittle page, which has so far raised $922 towards paying for her care.

They did not want her rough start in life to continue into her education.

MoE supporting girl but no funding for one-on-one care

“She deserves to have an education like any other child and to be a happy four-year-old in our community,” said the grandparents.

Their daughter, the child’s mother, met the father at a mental health facility in Nelson, but he has had nothing to do with his daughter from birth.

Her grandparents fought for custody of her and now they are fighting for funding so their moko can get one-on-one care and be looked after during the day.

“From the beginning of her little life she has fought the struggle to survive, even in the womb,” said her grandfather.

Her mother battled mental illness, alcohol and drugs, and made several suicide attempts while pregnant.

“Our granddaughter is left with no mother but a loving whanau of grandparents and aunties who love and care for her dearly, but sadly the nightmare for her has just begun.”

The Ministry of Education was aware of the case but there was no funding for children in ECE to get the help they actually needed, he said.

The grandfather said he asked the childcare centre she attended how much it would cost to provide the one-on-one care.

They estimated a caregiver would receive $18 to $24 an hour. For a 40-hour week that equated to almost $50,000 a year.

“I don’t know how we’re going to do that. The Ministry can’t help us with funding so we’re going to try our own way. We’re not rich. We thought about one of us quitting work but then we would just have to go on the benefit. We don’t want to do that.

“She’s an amazing little girl, she’s been through a lot in her little life.”

If anyone would like to help the Gisborne family, the givealittle fundraiser is online at: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/4-year-old-girl-asked-to-leave-daycare

A four-year-old Gisborne girl is not allowed to attend her daycare centre because her behaviour “scares the kids and teachers”.

The little girl’s 24-year-old mother is expected to get life imprisonment when she appears for sentence in Christchurh on Wednesday after stabbing and killing her partner (not the father of the girl) on Christmas Day 2016.

The girl is being raised by her grandparents, who both work full-time.

They have had to take her to work with them because she is not allowed back to daycare until funding for one-on-one care is provided.

It is a terrible situation, says the grandfather.

The little girl has behavioural issues, an attachment disorder, and is clinically deaf but has recently been fitted with hearing aids.

The Ministry of Education support person for the Gisborne region had gone “above and beyond” to help them, said the grandfather. But they were hampered by the system.

MoE deputy secretary sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said they were working with the little girl’s whanau to find an inclusive early education setting for her.

“She is beginning to flourish as a direct result of her whanau’s commitment to her education and wellbeing.

“Our specialists will continue to provide support to her and her whanau as long as it is required.”

MoE funding is not offered at early childhood education (ECE) level and when she starts primary school the maximum funded care is seven hours a week.

Ms Casey said ECE was non-compulsory and was provided by a mix of community-owned and private organisations.

“Services should make all reasonable efforts to collaborate with parents and, where appropriate, family or whanau of enrolled children in relation to the learning and development of and decision-making about those children.”

The family have started a givealittle page, which has so far raised $922 towards paying for her care.

They did not want her rough start in life to continue into her education.

MoE supporting girl but no funding for one-on-one care

“She deserves to have an education like any other child and to be a happy four-year-old in our community,” said the grandparents.

Their daughter, the child’s mother, met the father at a mental health facility in Nelson, but he has had nothing to do with his daughter from birth.

Her grandparents fought for custody of her and now they are fighting for funding so their moko can get one-on-one care and be looked after during the day.

“From the beginning of her little life she has fought the struggle to survive, even in the womb,” said her grandfather.

Her mother battled mental illness, alcohol and drugs, and made several suicide attempts while pregnant.

“Our granddaughter is left with no mother but a loving whanau of grandparents and aunties who love and care for her dearly, but sadly the nightmare for her has just begun.”

The Ministry of Education was aware of the case but there was no funding for children in ECE to get the help they actually needed, he said.

The grandfather said he asked the childcare centre she attended how much it would cost to provide the one-on-one care.

They estimated a caregiver would receive $18 to $24 an hour. For a 40-hour week that equated to almost $50,000 a year.

“I don’t know how we’re going to do that. The Ministry can’t help us with funding so we’re going to try our own way. We’re not rich. We thought about one of us quitting work but then we would just have to go on the benefit. We don’t want to do that.

“She’s an amazing little girl, she’s been through a lot in her little life.”

If anyone would like to help the Gisborne family, the givealittle fundraiser is online at: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/4-year-old-girl-asked-to-leave-daycare

Ministry of Education sector enablement and support deputy secretary Katrina Casey said its support early intervention specialists were currently supporting this child and her whanau.

“An individual education plan is in place to support her needs and we are working with her whanau to find an inclusive early education setting for her.

“She is beginning to flourish as a direct result of her whanau’s commitment to her education and wellbeing. Our specialists will continue to provide support to her and her whanau as long as it is required.

“Our early Intervention service provides specialist support for children who have a developmental or learning delay, a disability, a behaviour difficulty, and/or communication difficulties that affect their ability to participate and learn at home or in an early childhood setting.

“Through the service, children and their whanau may receive support from early intervention teachers, psychologists, speech and language therapists, advisers on deaf children, education support workers and kaitakawaenga.

“A range of other learning supports are available once a child goes to school.”

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Peter Reynolds, CEO, Early Childhood Council - 8 months ago
This is a sad, sad situation to read. Too often we are seeing examples like this across early childhood education services. One must feel for this child and their grandparents. I also spare a thought for the childcare centre that, I am sure, will have tried everything they could. At the end of the day, if they cannot provide a safe environment for this child, for the other children in their care, or for the adults who work there, they have a health and safety obligation to exclude the child - temporarily or permanently. This is not the best outcome, but our Learning Support services from government are woefully under-resourced and have been for some years. If children are indeed our taonga, our treasure, this must change.