Family Start: Addressing The Causes Not The Symptoms

  • Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister

Breaking cycles of disadvantage is the key purpose of the new Waipareira-Pasifika Family Start programme, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

"Investing in highly focused programmes like this for at risk groups, and helping them to build on their strengths is the most effective way that Government can help people improve their lives and give their children a chance," said Mrs Shipley.

Mrs Shipley and Minister of Health Bill English today launched the new Waipareira-Pasifika Family Start which will help over 280 Ranui-Massey families in West Auckland over the next three years.

"Building stronger families has benefits for all New Zealanders. Wherever serious risks exist Government will continue to work to see that people at risk receive help.

"We are committed to dealing with the underlying causes of disadvantage, and not just treating the symptoms. We want to go to the heart of problems and help solve them.

"New Zealanders want resources put at the top of the cliff. They don't want us to lock people into lives of misery. New Zealanders want to break the cycle, to give everyone hope by supporting them as they have a go. This programme provides that chance.

"By working together in partnership, Government through the Health Funding Authority and local provider Waipareira Pasifika Trust will help many families in Ranui-Massey to lift their sights and give their children a great start to life," Mrs Shipley said.

Family Start is designed to help families in difficult circumstances when a child is born, and if necessary, right up to the time the child starts school.

The Family Start service in West Auckland is one of three prototype services funded by Government as part of its wider "Strengthening Families" strategy.

"The Waipareira-Pasifika Trust is an exciting example of people working together to serve the needs of their community more effectively in partnership with Government.

"We know this programme can work, as we have seen the results through a similar programme in Christchurch called Early Start. One young woman on this programme said it had opened eyes, and that her programme worker was her support person and guided and helped her with my son. She gained the courage to speak up for herself, go on a secretary course and is hoping to get a job.

"The Family Start initiative is a substantial $20 million commitment over five years from Government to help some of New Zealand's most disadvantaged families. We have seen from the Christchurch programme that the benefits to families and their children are limitless, but the real benefits are long term and intergenerational and so will be seen in the years to come.

"Workers on the Family Start programme will walk alongside families for up to five years, helping with parenting skills, budgeting and accessing other services. The driving force of Family Start is working with families to build on their strengths, not dwell on their disadvantages," Mrs Shipley said.