• Jim Bolger
Prime Minister

The Prime Minister, Rt Hon J B Bolger, announced today that the Government intends to expand the Family Service Centres and HIPPY (Home Instruction by Parents of Pre-school Youngsters) to six new sites.

The Centres integrate the delivery of early childhood education, well-child health services and family support services to young families in communities identified with high needs. The purpose is to ensure better social, health and educational outcomes for at-risk families - breaking cycles of disadvantage.

HIPPY is a home based educational programme for three to six year olds, running in conjunction with the Family Service Centres.

Some 500-600 children are currently participating in the HIPPY programme. An expansion of the Family Service Centres to six new sites would increase the coverage of HIPPY to more than 1,000 children.

"The pilot projects are proving successful and the Government intends to expand these invaluable Family Service Centres and HIPPY," Mr Bolger said

The six new sites that have been identified are: Kaitaia, Whangarei, Gisborne, Flaxmere, Rotorua and Aranui/Wainoni.

The cost will be approximately $3 million in the first year, and $1.5 million annually thereafter.

"HIPPY emphasises and reinforces the key role of parents as the most important component in developing the learning capacities of young children. It helps to build and reinforce positive parenting roles, facilitating parenting skills. HIPPY is targeted at areas of greatest need."