Family Works services
Find the right support for you and your whānau.
Our wide range of support services are designed to provide people with the information, skills and guidance to develop strong relationships with their children, families and community, and work towards positive changes in life.
To book a service, simply send us an enquiry or give our friendly team a call.
Parenting Through Separation
Parenting Through Separation group sessions provide a welcoming, relaxed and supportive environment to discuss parenting concerns during a family separation. Our trained programme leaders will share practical advice and information to help you work out what’s best for you’re children.
Parenting through Separation is a free information programme that helps you work out what’s best for your children when you’re separating. The earlier in your separation you can get to a programme the better for you and your children. You can attend Parenting through Separation even if you are just thinking of separating, or if you have been separated for some time – it’s all about making things better for the children.
Parenting Through Separation is focused on providing practical advice and information to keep things as stress-free as possible for your children and to help you work out what parenting arrangements will work if or when you separate.
We cover topics such as:
- how separation affects children
- what children need during separation
- keeping children away from conflict
- talking with children about separation
- talking with ex-partners about arrangements for the children
- how to make a parenting plan
- how the Family Court works.
Each programme is made up of two sessions lasting approximately two hours and is run in a small group setting. We have programmes running at a range of times and locations to suit you.
During the sessions you can choose to say as much or as little as you like about your individual situation. However, you can rest assured our experienced programme facilitators make sure each session is welcoming, relaxed, supportive and informative.
While it’s good if both parents/carers attend Parenting through Separation, we strongly recommend you attend separate sessions. Let us know when you register if you have a different family name from your ex-partner, so we can make sure you are not both at the same session.
Parenting Through Separation is funded by the Ministry of Justice. It has been developed by professionals who specialise in helping families through separation, and is delivered by experienced facilitators from Family Works and the Community Law Centre.
Incredible Years is a support and education programme for parents of children aged between 3 and 8 years. It’s all about creating an enjoyable and harmonious family life!
Incredible Years provides practical and positive ways of managing your child’s challenging behaviours such as aggressiveness, answering back and refusing to follow rules. It’s designed to help you build strong relationships with your children and promote positive behaviour.
The group programme also gives you the opportunity to gain valuable insights from other parents – you’ll quickly realise you’re not alone!
We cover topics such as:
- helping your child learn through play
- encouraging good behaviour
- setting limits and following through
- teaching children to problem solve.
The Incredible Years programme is available thanks to funding from the Ministry of Education.
Negotiating the Minefield
Life for teens can be complicated and often leaves them feeling reactive and stressed. As their parent, it can seem impossible to support them and maintain a healthy relationship. Negotiating the Minefield parenting programme provides practical strategies for raising young adults.
Negotiating the Minefield will help you understand the development of young adults but most importantly it will give you useful tools and advice for keeping your sanity while raising your teenager. Each programme runs for six sessions.
We cover topics such as:
- understanding the adolescent brain (and your teen)
- staying in control
- strategies to help your sanity
- communication and how to reprogramme automatic responses
- problem solving techniques and developing win/win situations
- supporting your teen to make healthy choices and develop appropriate responses to life.
As well as being practical and informative, the sessions are fun, relaxed and supportive. If you or someone you know might benefit from this programme, please fill out an enquiry form and one of our friendly team will be in touch.
Good Fathers programme
Our Good Fathers programme has been designed especially for dads and dads-to-be to share ideas and experiences. Learn how to build stronger bonds with your kids and manage the challenges that come with being a dad.
Being a good dad is probably the most important thing you’ll do in your entire life. Thankfully, you have a choice about the kind of dad you want to be.
Many men find it tough to talk about parenting, so Family Works Central designed the Good Fathers programme as a relaxed, yet informative way to find out how to build stronger bonds with your kids and to manage the challenges that come with being a dad.
Each programme runs for between eight and eleven weeks.
We cover topics such as:
- reducing conflict and stress
- being actively involved in your kids’ lives
- setting boundaries and improving your children’s behaviour without anger
- communicating with your children, their mum, family and whānau
- attitudes to parenting and being a dad
- encouraging your kids and bonding with them
- gaining the skills and confidence to raise your children well
- recognising and acknowledging power and control issues.
Our Good Fathers programme is available in the Hutt Valley. If you are looking for a similar service in another region please contact us to discuss your needs.
Boundaries with Kids
Being a parent or caregiver can be tough. Our Boundaries with Kids programme is focused on ten principles of happy parenting. Learn how to make the shift from enduring to enjoying!
Boundaries with Kids parenting programme will help you gain useful knowledge about the stages of your children’s development. You’ll learn practical, positive parenting skills that will help you build strong bonds with your children and promote good behaviour.
Each programme is run over eight weeks.
We cover topics such as:
- understanding the stages of your children’s development and being prepared before they happen
- personality types and love languages
- parenting styles and the differences each makes for your child
- listening to and communicating with your children
- understanding your boundaries and developing boundaries in your children
- behaviour management strategies, including practical strategies for different situations
- looking after yourself.
The group setting provides a supportive space for parents and/or caregivers to share their parenting experiences. You’ll gain valuable insights from other parents, identify your own parenting strengths and, importantly, realise you’re not alone!
Boundaries for Women
Boundaries for Women will support you to develop and maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships with partners, children, parents, family, whānau, friends and associates.
Boundaries for Women is a group programme catering for 8 to 12 women. It involves weekly two hour sessions over 6 weeks, with one-to-one follow up sessions available if requested.
We cover topics such as:
- what a boundary is and what it looks like in practice
- how unhealthy boundaries can develop and how to change behaviours
- how to communicate your needs clearly
- characteristics and indicators of healthy boundaries and limits.
You’ll be supported to develop a healthy self-esteem and gain confidence as you put your learning into practice.
Parenting in Prison
We’re here to support parents improve their parenting skills while they are in prison, and to communicate better with their children.
Family Works Central has been contracted by the Department of Corrections to deliver parenting programmes across the greater Wellington and Whanganui regions. Our team liaise with Corrections programmes and interventions coordinators, who provide possible programme participants.
There are three stages in our programme:
- Initial assessment
- Group programme delivery
- Final assessment and evaluation
The programme consists of five, two-hour sessions, with no more than nine participants.
As well as a learning environment, the group setting is also a sharing and supportive environment. Talking about one’s past can be hard for parents, especially if they did not thrive as children – as many prisoners did not. Facilitators ensure that the group is in a safe environment to share their thoughts, feelings and personal stories within the group context.
We cover things such as:
- Communication and attentive listening skills
- Parenting styles
- Emotional needs of children: feelings and self esteem
- Ages and development Stages
- Discipline vs punishment
- Boundaries, rules and behaviour management
- The importance of play
After the final group session, our facilitators meet individually with each participant to ‘sign-off’ on individual goals, then an individual report is sent to Corrections’ programmes and interventions coordinator. This report and set of goals form part of the prisoner’s reintegration plan.
Family Works counsellors provide an unbiased ear to listen to your concerns. We’ll help you explore and understand your thoughts, feelings and responses and then support you to solve problems and develop coping mechanisms, move on or make positive changes in your life.
If you feel like you are struggling, or things are becoming overwhelming – we can help.
Anyone facing personal, social or psychological challenges can benefit from counselling. At Family Works, we provide counselling for individuals, including adults, teenagers and specialist children’s therapy, as well as relationship or couples counselling and family therapy/counselling.
Every day, our experienced counsellors help people work through a whole range of issues, including:
- stress and anxiety
- difficult relationships
- family break-ups
- anger management
- grief, loss and trauma
- poor mental health
- family violence and abuse
- addiction or drug/alcohol dependency
- a lack of confidence or low self-esteem
- debt and money concerns
We can help you to:
- acknowledge and explore your thoughts, feelings and behaviour
- become more self-aware, including thinking about your values and what motivates you
- see patterns and make connections in your relationships and behaviour
- set goals and learn practical tools and strategies that will help you make positive changes in your life, using the strengths and resources you already have.
The number of counselling sessions you will need depends on the complexity of the problem. Everyone is different. Some people benefit from a single session, although most people will need a number of sessions. Please contact us to find out how we could help.
Family Works offers counselling throughout New Zealand. In many cases, the sessions are able to be subsidised or provided free of charge thanks to funding from government and the community.
Free to be me
If you have experienced family violence or abuse, our Free To Be Me programme will give you the support and confidence you need to feel safe again, to heal and to work towards a brighter future. We offer programmes for children of various ages and for adults.
Family violence can take many forms including verbal, physical, financial or emotional, and affects everyone in different ways.
Free to be Me can help reduce the short and long-term impacts of family violence, while supporting you and your family to heal and grow. Each programme runs 10 – 16 sessions.
We cover topics such as:
- The types and effects of abuse
- Power and control dynamics
- Keeping safe
- Communications skills and problem solving
- Building self esteem
- Moving forward in a positive way.
Free to be Me for women
The programme can be completed in an individual or group setting, depending on what’s right for you.
Free to be Me for children and teens
Run during the school term, the programme includes two individual sessions, followed by 8 group sessions. The programme is run in age or sibling groups.
Free to be Me for carers
Run alongside the kids programme, sessions cover the material taught to your children so you can support them at home.
The Free To Be Me programme is available thanks to funding from the Ministry of Education.
Add more practical skills to your parenting tool kit and build stronger relationships with your children with our Growing Together programme. This relaxed and informative group will help you put the fun back into your role as a parent.
Having kids doesn’t come with a manual. But if you’re interested in building stronger relationships with your kids, if you want to add more practical skills to your parenting tool kit, and if you want to put some fun back into being a mum, dad or carer, then Growing Together could be for you!
Each programme is usually made up of six two-hour sessions, over six weeks.
We cover topics such as:
- your kids’ developmental ages and stages
- the importance of child-led play
- parenting styles
- the temperaments of your kids
- modelling behaviour and managing challenging behaviour
- setting boundaries, routines and structure
- listening skills
- building self esteem.
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)
When parents separate, it can be a stressful time for the whole family. Family Dispute Resolution helps separating or separated parents sort out children’s day-to-day care and contact arrangements, without going to Family Court.
The Family Works Resolution Service provides a qualified family mediator who will listen to all points of view and help you reach an agreement about looking after your children.
Your family mediator will:
- make sure family mediation is right for you
- arrange your coaching session before family mediation
- arrange for a child’s voice consultant to be appointed where appropriate
- work out whether you qualify for government funding
- give you time to express your point of view without being biased
- help you decide on your children’s care arrangements.
Our mediation service is designed to support parents and/or guardians to resolve conflict without the need to go to court. This makes things much less stressful for everyone involved – especially the children – by avoiding the delays, conflict and expense that the court process can entail.
Your child’s voice
It’s important that throughout the process, your children’s thoughts and feelings are heard. A ‘Child’s Voice’ practitioner will meet with your children prior to mediation to ensure that their wishes are conveyed to the adults during the mediation meetings. The family mediator will talk you through and gain your agreement and consent.
We offer coaching to provide you with skills and strategies you may need to have a successful mediation session, as well as free parenting support through our Parenting Through Separation programme.
Family Violence Safety Support
Family Works supports individuals, families and whānau to live a life free from violence, abuse, bullying and neglect. We’ll teach you how to create positive changes and keep yourself and your children safe.
Family violence is never ok. No-one should be frightened of, scared by, or hurt by someone in their family. Family Works Safety Support provides a range of specialist services to support children, teenagers, adults and families who have experienced family violence.
Our range of services include counselling and therapy, safety support, social work and group programmes.
We cover topics such as:
- specialist trauma counselling for children, teenagers and adults who have experienced family violence
- couples and relationship counselling
- supporting safety programmes that help the victims of family violence to be safe
- family therapy
- group support programmes, like Free to be Me, for both children and adults
- support and education programmes, like Boundaries and the Good Fathers Programme, to help you recognise and develop health relationships
- parenting support, advice and education to help you to development positive parenting skills.
Specialist support for children
Children are affected by family violence whether they see it, hear it or just know about it. Family Works’ child and family therapists will tailor services to individually meet the child’s needs. Experiencing violence as a child can have massive affects. Our therapists will ensure your child feels safe and respected.
Are struggling to control your anger?
If you can’t control your anger or have violent tendencies, we are here to help you choose a better way of dealing with your feelings. We can provide specialist counselling, group support programmes such as the Good Fathers programme, or make a referral to a Stopping Violence Programme in your area.
Strengthening Families is all about co-ordinating your different support agencies. We’ll make sure you’re getting uselful, holistic support to address your families concerns and make positive changes.
If your family is being supported by more than one community organisation or government service, Strengthening Families may be for you. It’s about making sure you’re getting all the support you need to truly thrive, while focusing on building plans for the future, rather than dwelling on the past.
We bring together all of the people and organisations that are, or could be, supporting you. This means you’ll only have to tell your story once and everyone gets to hear the ‘whole picture’.
Through Strengthening Families you, and the rest of your family, decide who is involved, then everyone agrees on a plan.
Together, we create a plan involving:
- recognition of your family’s strengths and ways to build on them
- addressing your family’s concerns and priorities
- co-ordinating the work of all agencies involved
- identifying any unmet needs or gaps in services and develop strategies to solve them.
Strengthening Families is a government-funded initiative and is available throughout New Zealand.
Support for Pacific Peoples
We understand that moving to a new country can be stressful. There are often difficulties with language, cultural integration and, in smaller rural communities, with feeling isolated and alone. The Family Works Pacific Community team is here to listen to you regardless of culture or religion.
Counselling for young people
Sometimes young people need an extra bit of support. Our therapists work with children, teenagers and families to deal with a range of issues that may be affecting their behaviour and enjoyment of life.
If we bottle up our feelings we can feel more and more sad or scared, or angry or frustrated – it can feel like we have so much stuff going on that we might explode. Talking about our feelings and problems can help us feel better and work out what to do next.
Family Works counsellors are friendly adults you can trust to listen to you, and help you find ways to feel better. They’re interested in what’s going on for you.
Our team of experienced therapists includes trained counsellors, play therapists, psychologists and social workers who may work one-on-one, with parents or provide support in other ways, best suited to meet the young persons rights and needs.
Kids and teens talk to Family Works counsellors all the time about things like:
- bullies and people who say mean things or threaten others
- problems at school, like struggling with school work or staying focused
- parents arguing or splitting up
- problems with alcohol or drugs
- feeling afraid or unsafe
- wanting to hurt themselves or someone else
- feeling very sad or very angry
- feeling lonely
- problems with friends
- family violence and adult bullies
- feeling confused or upset about their bodies and how they look
- grief and loss, like how you might feel when someone dies or leaves your life.
During a counselling session you might draw, listen to music, play with toys and games or just talk. All of these things will help you and the counsellor understand your problems and feelings. Your counsellor will also help you work out how to ‘be the boss of your feelings’, to find solutions to your problems and to come up with ways of coping.
Our programme for girls is a fun and relaxed group environment that helps build confidence and self-esteem. Designed for girls aged 12 – 16, it priovides teens with opportunity to talk with others about experiences and feelings in a safe, non-judgemental space.
Known as ‘What about the girls!?’ the programme gives you the skills and knowledge to feel stronger and more confident. You’ll learn how to look after yourself and your friends, even in difficult situations.
We’ll cover things like:
- keeping yourself safe
- looking after your body
- gaining confidence
- having a voice and being heard
- developing healthy relationships
- dealing with bullying and being hurt
- looking to the future.
And don’t worry, it’s not a lecture – the group is safe, relaxed and fun!
If you or someone you know might benefit from this programme, please fill out an enquiry form and one of our friendly team will be in touch.
Social Workers in Schools (SWiS)
Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) is a programme designed to support children to thrive at home and at school. Trained Family Works social workers or family-whānau workers, based in schools, work alongside the students, families and teachers to support our future generations.
Family Works experienced team of social workers are friendly, approachable and non-judgemental. They take a strength-based approach to addressing issues at-home or school in order to strive for a brighter future for the child and their family.
They often work with the student and their family and teachers, to work on things such as:
- developing good relationships
- developing social skills, self-esteem and confidence
- behavioural issues or concerns
- parenting and bonding
- staying safe
- living a life free of violence and crime
- grief and loss.
As well as working with individual children and family members, Family Works social workers:
- develop and run practical group programmes and support networks
- coordinate services on behalf of the family
- provide advice and support to parents and teachers
- make sure the family is connected to the best services for them
- advocate on behalf of the student and/or their family.
Accessing Social Workers in Schools
Teachers, principals, community members, children and families can make referrals to Social Workers in Schools, but it’s up to the families concerned to choose to be involved – the service is voluntary.
Family Works Central currently has social workers based in the following schools, where the service is provided free-of-charge thanks to funding from Oranga Tamariki.
- Ngatitoa School
- Titahi Bay Intermediate
- St Pius X School
- Porirua School
- Porirua East School
- Rangikura School
- Titahi Bay School
- Titahi Bay North
- Maraeroa School
- Bishop Viard College (Years 7 and 8 only)
- Holy Family
- Wellington Seventh Day Adventists
- Kahurangi School (Strathmore)
Youth mentoring is all about supporting kids and teens who are facing challenges in their lives to make good choices and create positive changes – to make the most out of life.
Family Works youth mentoring supports taiktamariki and young people, usually aged between 12 and 16 years, who are having a tough time and need some extra adult support and encouragement.
Our mentors mentors are also known as Kaitautoko Whānau. They act as role models and become trusted friends. Walking alongside the teenager, they put themselves in their shoes and help them through challenges by listening, supporting, motivating and guiding.
Teens are paired with a mentor based on their interests and needs. They meet weekly to engage in fun activities that they both enjoy – such as going to the park, playing games, cooking, crafts, fishing and other outdoor activities.
All Family Works Youth Mentors are trained and screened volunteers who receive regular supervision.
3R's Resilient programme
3R’s Resilience programme provides training around building emotional regulation and becoming more resilient, as well as counselling to work through obstacles and challenges.
Designed to support people aged 16 through to adulthood, the 3R’s Resilience programme will help you to build emotional regulation and create balance in your personal, family and work life.
Our Family Works Whanganui team runs courses in the local community once a week for 8 to 12 week course.
The 3 R’s stands for:
- Resistance: learning how to regulation your emotions.
- Resilience: strengthening your ability to adapt to and rebound
- Recovery: is about identifying your own stressors of being overwhelmed and knowing when and where to seek help/support and not leaving it until it’s too late.
Adapted from the John Hopkin model, by George S Everly, JR.,PHD: Fostering Human Resilience in Crisis.
New Settler's Group
Family Works Central’s New Settlers’ Group has been designed for women who have migrated to New Zealand and may feel isolated after leaving their extended family and friends for a new life here.
Our New Settler’s Group is a safe, welcoming environment that consists of women from all backgrounds and experiences. It’s a great opportunity to make friends, learn new skills and build contacts in your local community.
The group of women, along with their young children, meet every Friday morning during the school term. Come and meet others in a similar situation to yourself and find companionship and support. New members are always welcome!
Family Works Central’s New Settlers’ Group is only made possible thanks to the support and generosity of our communities and volunteers.
Social Work Support
Family Works social workers are trained in providing advice, support and advocacy for children, parents and families. We partner with you and your family to help you work through challenging situations, making sure you have access to the right support and resources.
Family Works Central’s social work support is all about helping children and families to thrive, even in difficult times.
Our main focus is making sure that you and your family are getting the support and assistance you need. We can help you and your children work through complex problems and emotions, develop coping strategies, and adapt to the world around you.
Our team of experienced social workers are friendly, approachable and non-judgemental. We’ll walk alongside you to help you and your family make positive changes, using the strengths and resources you already have.
We can support you with a range of things, such as:
- assisting you to find the services you need, including advocating on your behalf
- making sure you have access to the right support and resources, including accommodation, employment assistance and benefits
- connecting, or reconnecting, you with community and family support networks
- providing advice about your rights and opportunities
- supporting you to develop skills and strategies to keep yourself and your children safe
- supporting you to navigate through legal processes and coordinate services.
Family Works Central offers social work support in Taranaki, Whanganui, Wellington, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa. In many cases social work support can be subsidised or provided free of charge thanks to funding from government and the community.
We also have social workers based in schools around Wellington and Porirua as part of the Social Workers in Schools programme, where the service is provided free-of-charge thanks to funding from Oranga Tamariki.
Restorative justice helps restore balance between victims and offenders. It gives the victim(s) a voice and allows the offender to directly hear how their actions impacted others.
Restorative justice helps to right wrongs and heal the harm caused by crime.
Family Works offers a restorative justice service in the Wairarapa through Masterton District Court.
The service gives victims a voice and supports their healing journey. It also helps offenders understand the impact of their actions and therefore reduces reoffending.
Restorative justice conferences involve the victim and the offender meeting and, with the assistance of Family Works’ trained restorative justice facilitators, acknowledging the harm caused and talking about how it might be put right. The focus is on understanding the hurt experienced by the victim while holding the offender accountable for what they have done.
For victims, the restorative justice process is an opportunity to:
- Tell the offender how you have been affected by the crime
- explain how you think the harm could be put right
- start the process of dealing with the effects of the crime
- help stop others from becoming the victim of the offender’s crime.
For the offenders the restorative justice process is an opportunity to:
- take personal responsibility for the offending
- apologise to the victim(s)
- decide how to put right the harm cause
- find ways to make sure you don’t reoffend.
Following the meeting, Family Works’ facilitators will write a report to explain what happened during the meeting and outline any agreements made. During the offender’s sentencing, the judge will decide whether to include any of the agreements made at the restorative justice conference as part of the sentence.
Our supervised contact programme supports children and parents to rebuild positive and safe relationships after family violence or long periods of separation. This service is offered in Taranaki.
Supervised contact (supervised visits) aims to support children to develop safe and positive relationships with a parent or carer who does not have day-to-day care of them and where it’s been difficult to establish a good relationship.
The visits allow the child and parent to spend time together in a safe, warm, and controlled environment with a Family Works staff member present to support.
Often supervised contact comes about following an order by the Family Court when there has been violence in the family or to reintroduce a parent to a child after a period of no contact. In many cases, the relationship between the adult and the child improves quickly over a series of supervised visits. The supervised contact continues until the court is satisfied that the child will be safe with unsupervised contact.
At Family Works Taranaki, we have a team of whanau kamahi (supervised contact) workers who deliver the service from our New Plymouth office. Parents and the other adults involved are helped and encouraged to understand the child’s needs and to support the reintroduction of contact.
The whanau kamahi worker attends each visit and has the responsibility to ensure the safety, welfare, and wellbeing of the children they are supervising.
Family Works Taranaki’s non-violence programmes focus on developing healthy ways of managing anger and helping attendees understand and change controlling and abusive behaviours.
Family Works Taranaki offers Ministry of Justice approved non-violence programmes for both men and women. We will work with you to help recognise unwanted, controlling, or violent behaviours and triggers, and develop positive and empowering non-violent ways of thinking, acting, and speaking.
The focus is on personal accountability, rather than blame. You’ll learn why you may react in a certain way and learn skills for managing your emotions in a supportive and non-judgemental environment.
If you’re ready to accept responsibility for your behaviour, talk about it, and make positive changes, call us today. Programmes are offered in New Plymouth and Hawera.