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Maharey opens Hamilton Family Start

The Minister of Social Services and Employment, Steve Maharey, opened a new $12 million Family Start programme in Hamilton this morning.

Family Start programmes are being established across the country and enable families to access a wide range of health, education and welfare services, according to their needs. Kirikiriroa Family Services Trust won the contract to provide the Family Start programme in Hamilton which will directly assist over 500 families annually by its fourth year of operation.

“Giving young children a healthy, happy start in life is a real investment in our country’s future.

“The Government is investing in a programme which is proven to work. Studies show that intense early home-based support helps parents and reduces the chance of poor social and emotional development and the range of subsequent problems which can eventuate.

“Family Start provides social services to families at risk that are well co-ordinated, parents are aware of and meet their responsibilities and the life outcomes of the children in families at risk are identified and improved.

“249 families will be helped by the programme in Hamilton in its first year. By year four this will rise to over 550 families. Just under $12 million will be invested in the programme over this period.

“I am confident this new service will make a real difference in the Hamilton community. It provides practical help from the beginning of a child’s life, rather than waiting until a crisis occurs,” Steve Maharey said.

Family Start is jointly funded by Social Services, Health and Education through their purchasing agencies Child, Youth and Family, Health Funding Authority and Early Childhood Development. Child, Youth and Family manages the Hamilton contract.

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