A mother reading to her kids.

Family Start service strengthened by addition of four new sites

06 October 2016.

The Ministry of Social Development today announced four new sites for delivery of the intensive home visitation programme Family Start.

Family Start supports whānau who are struggling with challenges or problems that put health, education and social outcomes for their children at risk.

Ministry Deputy Chief Executive, Murray Edridge, said that adding these new sites will allow more families across New Zealand to access these services.

"Family Start is currently provided across 32 sites to around 5,000 families at any one time," he said. "The new sites are part of an expansion that will see an extra 1,250 Family Start places around the country."

Plunket will provide Family Start services in two of the new sites - Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty and Palmerston North/Manawatu/Tararua. Barnardos New Zealand will provide services in Taranaki/New Plymouth/Stratford/South Taranaki, and Presbyterian Support will provide services in Timaru/Ashburton/Mackenzie/Waimate.

"Each of the providers in the new sites has established infrastructure, community networks and expertise to begin establishing the Family Start service in the new locations this month."

The expansion of Family Start supports the Community Investment Strategy, which is working to align funding for those with the highest needs to evidence-based and results-focused social services.

"Family Start is a targeted, evidence-based programme, and a recent evaluation found it has achieved positive impacts for vulnerable children," said Mr Edridge. "It’s important that we put children at the heart of what we do and provide the best support for those families and children who need it most."

A mother reading to her kids.
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