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Providing more support for families

Media Release

Embargoed until 4.30pm, 5 Nov

Providing more support for families

"In a year that brought New Zealand’s biggest baby boom since 1963, we have seen a record number of newborn babies and delivered more contacts than ever before especially to those families with greater needs," said Carol Becker, New Zealand President for Plunket at the Society's Annual General Meeting in Wellington on Wednesday evening.

Over the last year Plunket made a record 700,000 visits and contacts with young families – through health assessments, family centres, parenting education programmes, and parent groups.

547,000 of these contacts were funded through the government funded Well Child service - including 280,000 home visits and 224,000 clinic visits. 22 per cent of these contacts were with Māori whanau and 11 per cent with Pacific families.

PlunketLine – the Plunket funded free telephone advice service – also responded to a record 70,000 phone calls from families.

Plunket continues to be the nation's leading Well Child provider, seeing over 90 per cent of all newborn babies in New Zealand.

“We are really delighted to be able to provide this continuing support for families in New Zealand and we would like to see this support starting earlier. It is vital that families start to receive Well Child support even before their babies are born to connect them early and effectively with the support they need,” says Carol Becker, New Zealand President, Plunket.

International evidence shows that early contact with a service that will provide ongoing care makes a difference to the long term engagement with the service and consequently the outcomes for children. This is especially important for families with complex needs, who may struggle with a range of health, financial and social issues. Taking family health service to them, in their own home, at a time of vulnerability and change has been shown to improve outcomes for the family and especially for children.

“Connecting families with other services is a much bigger role than just referring families on – and would enable gaps in available services to be identified. We will work with the community to help fill the gaps, which will include additional parenting groups and services,” says Mrs Becker.

As part of its Five Years for Under Fives future focus launched during the year, Plunket is pledging to deliver more support in accordance with families’ needs; advocate for increased investment for the under fives and work with others in the sector to create an integrated, shared network of support, so that every family will be given the opportunity to access the services they need.

ENDS

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