More support for mums and whānau struggling with alcohol and other drugs

The Government is expanding its Pregnancy and Parenting Programme so more women and whānau can access specialist support to minimise harm from alcohol and other drugs, Health Minister Andrew Little says.

“We know these supports help improve wellbeing and have helped to reduce addiction, reduced risk for children, and helped bring whānau back together,” Andrew Little said.

“We know that giving our children the best possible start in life and helping support families is a vital part of the Government’s aim to lay the foundations for a better future for New Zealand and New Zealanders.”

Pregnancy and Parenting Services will now be available in Whanganui and the Bay of Plenty expanding on services already available in Waitematā, Tairāwhiti, Northland and Hawke’s Bay.

The services are tailored to women who are pregnant, or with children aged under three, who experience issues with substance abuse, and who are not well connected to health and social services.

“The Government has invested $7million over four years to expand these services around the country to ensure women, whānau and their pēpi are getting the support they need,” Andrew Little said.

“These services can assist women to access antenatal care, alcohol and other drug treatment, parenting support and other community and health services. They provide education on the effects of alcohol and other drug use during pregnancy and in relation to parenting, and work with women and their whānau to identify and achieve their goals.

“Part of the reason for the success of these programmes is that they are embedded within communities. This makes it easier to access support and better services for the benefit of pēpi,” Andrew Little said.

The Whanganui service, named He Puna Ora, is being delivered by a collective of five Māori organisations. It will support wāhine and whānau through a mixture of wānanga and mātauranga Māori.

In the Bay of Plenty, the District Health Board has partnered with Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau and Te Pou Oranga o te Whakatohea to design and deliver services.

“We know that Māori experience more challenges in terms of mental wellbeing outcomes and we are focused on ensuring a by Māori, for Māori approach to ensure services are responsive to need,” Andrew Little said.

“I commend everyone involved in developing these services. Ensuring strong integration of kaupapa and mātauranga Māori within services will be important to provide better services for all New Zealanders.”

Editors Note:

·         Pregnancy and Parenting Services provide free assessment, information, and support to pregnant women and parents of children under three years of age.

·         The aim is to improve the life outcomes for unborn babies and children by working with pregnant women, parents and their whānau with issues around alcohol and drugs.

·         The services take a non-judgemental, holistic approach to supporting women and their whānau who are often disengaged from other support services.

·         The Waitematā service typically works with about 250 women and their whānau per year, and the other three existing sites each typically work with about 100 women and their whānau per year.