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Core Social Work Programme

Pillars Actively Supports Children and Families with Whānau in Prison or Serving a Sentence.

Pillars Social Workers and Mentor Coordinators are committed to supporting Pillars Tamariki to work towards their goals and stride into the future with confidence. We believe children of people in prison are children of promise and potential.


Pillars Social Workers provide an evidence-based and specialised response service, walking alongside tangata whaiora and/or whānau members who have been impacted by a family member’s involvement with Ara Poutama (the Department of Corrections).

We work with whānau who have a family member in prison or serving a sentence within the community. Engagement with the programme is free and voluntary. We conduct ongoing assessments with tangata whaiora and whānau to identify what their needs are. The voice of the children is always included in planning and assessments.

We walk alongside tangata whaiora and/or whānau, providing advocacy, education, resources, and support. Some examples include housing, work and income and linking whānau into other supports such as counselling and rehabilitative programmes. We support whānau to understand Ara Poutama processes and the impact of intergenerational trauma.

“My Journey with Pillars was the best thing that ever happened to me and my family. They picked me up when no one else would” 

- Mum Supported by Pillars


  • Anyone who is the primary caregiver for a child or young person 0-18 years with a family member involved with Ara Poutama (Department of Corrections).

  • The whānau member could be in prison, or on remand awaiting trial, or sentenced, released from prison, or serving a community sentence.

  • The tangata whaiora and /or whānau lives within a restricted radius of Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and Ōtautahi (Christchurch) offices.

  • If you do not meet the requirements please see the Family Services Directory to access the right support for you and your whānau. 


  • Referrals can be made directly or indirectly. This means people can refer themselves or be referred by a service they have or are engaged with.

  • Referrers should ensure the person in prison is informed when making a referral to Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou. This will however not delay the Pillars Social Worker from contacting the family.

  • Referrals will be triaged by a Pillars Social Worker/s and/or manager and assessed to ensure the tangata whaiora and/or whānau member meet our criteria and threshold.

  • Pillars Social Worker may refer to an external service with the consent of the family if they do not meet our criteria and threshold.

Need Support? 

Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou is based in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) and Ōtautahi (Christchurch)  

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