In 2017, FSM was approached by Counties Manukau District Health Board (DHB) to be a partner in the development of an approach to address alcohol related harm. Having successfully developed the alcohol harm minimisation project across clinical settings, the DHB were looking to see if they could apply it in the community and have the same impact.
Kaye Dennison (Project Lead CMDHB) saw the success we were having with whānau through our Family Start programme and recognised the ability of our team to engage our community. She approached us, we agreed and Robyn Rummins our evaluation specialist led this work.
We were happy to be part of this project as it would benefit whānau. As FSM staff were already meeting with whānau, the project equipped them to identify where alcohol was causing harm. Given our relationships, staff were able to identify issues that may have previously not been picked up at other levels. Once issues were identified, staff work with the family member to identify support services that they can engage in for support.
Being a partner with the DHB has meant that we are able to complement each other's work and organisations. While the core of our work is social work, partnering with the DHB has meant that we are able to look into public health issues and together develop solutions that can work for whānau.
We have spent a significant time in planning and developing solutions. We are now entering into the research phase where together we are gathering data and will start measuring the impact of this work. We really value our partnership with CMDHB and see that working together, we are already benefiting as we get to share about our work, but more importantly our social workers continue to develop their skills.
We are hopeful that through this partnership, we are able to build evidence that can support whānau across the entire country and this is very exciting for our team.