Family Start Provides Real Answers To Poverty

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English said today Family Start was a practical and effective programme to tackle issues around poverty.

"Family Start is an intensive, home-based preventative programme. It will help support families with new born infants rather than waiting until a crisis occurs.

"Family Start is part of the Strengthening Families policy aimed at breaking the cycle of disadvantage. Education, welfare and health will work together through one service for the most disadvantaged families. We want to make it easy for families to take advantage of the help they need and it makes sense to combine the resources and expertise we have.

"The Government is investing in a programme which is proven to work. Research shows that intense early home-based support can help parents and reduce the chances of poor social and emotional development and the subsequent problems for children. That's why Family Start is strongly supported by people working in social services.

"Handwringing about poverty won't make one iota of difference to families in need. What will help those families is real, practical support and that's what Family Start is all about.

"The fact is, Labour has no policy to deal with poverty and all its soothing noises to social policy audiences can't hide that fact. I invite the Labour Party to start endorsing a programme which is proven to work and which will help break the cycle of poverty. Now that Labour has canned its 1996 policy to increase benefits, it has no other proposals to deal with poverty," said Mr English.

For further information contact: Liz Rowe, Press Secretary, 04-471 9154 (wk)Internet address -

Note: The Prime Minister and Mr English will launch the Family Start programme based at Ranui-Massey (West Auckland) today at 3pm. Tomorrow Mr English will launch the Rotorua-based programme at 10.30am at Te Papa-i-ouru Marae, Ohinemutu.