More families to receive intensive home support

  • Anne Tolley
Social Development

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says $7.3 million a year will be reprioritised to support more vulnerable children and their families through intensive home visiting programme Family Start.

“We’re investing in those who are in the most need of support by increasing the funding for Family Start, an evidence-based intensive home visitation programme with proven results,” Mrs Tolley says.

“Family Start has been shown to increase mothers’ use of community-based mental health services, child immunisation rates and participation in Early Childhood Education.”

The funding will be reprioritised from the low-intensity home visitation programme, Parents As First Teachers (PAFT), which is aimed at lower-risk families and has shown no evidence of effectively reducing child maltreatment.

“Family Start currently works with 5000 at-risk families at any one time, and this funding will support an additional 1250 families nationwide,” Mrs Tolley says

“Eligible families currently receiving PAFT will be referred to Family Start and others will be able to access resources such as Strategies for Kids, Information for Parents (SKIP) and targeted parenting programmes such as Incredible Years.

“MSD will work with existing Family Start sites to expand their boundaries and new sites will be established in Tauranga, Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Timaru/Ashburton.

“This reinvestment 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.

“The transfer will take effect from 1 October 2016 to allow time for providers to assess which families should be referred.”

More information about Family Start is available at https://www.familyservices.govt.nz/working-with-us/programmes-services/early-intervention/new-family-start/.