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SKIP for parents

6 May 2004

SKIP for parents

Parents raising preschoolers will get more support from a new initiative launched by Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey today.

The $10.8 million SKIP: Strategies with Kids – Information for Parents campaign will work with community groups to provide resources and training for parents and caregivers of children up to five years old. The campaign comprises: a $3.7 million SKIP Local Initiatives Fund for community groups wanting funding for local positive parenting projects will be available over the next two years; $4.4 million to strengthen and expand existing parenting programmes; $1.8 million is being spent on the production of national resources to support the campaign, and $900,000 for monitoring, research and evaluation.

Steve Maharey said research shows that the most effective parenting uses love and nurturing and strong boundaries.

“Raising a child can be very challenging and parents tell us they are interested in learning new skills and strategies. As well as boosting training, SKIP will be producing lots of practical tips for parents trying to cope with the everyday challenges of bringing up small children.

“SKIP has been developed following extensive consultation with community groups. A strong theme that emerged from this was the need to tap into the organisations that have the history, the infrastructure and the networks to work with parents and children.

“With that in mind, one of SKIP’s three strands is developing national resources for training providers and parents wanting information and advice. The second strand will work with community organisations such as Plunket and Barnardos, to help them strengthen their existing programmes and services.

“The government believes strongly that making an investment in the health and capability of our children today is vital for the well-being of New Zealanders tomorrow. SKIP will give parents practical advice and support on society’s most important job – raising the next generation of dependable adults,” Steve Maharey said.

Q. What is SKIP?

A. SKIP is a strategy designed to provide parents with information about raising children to be happy, dependable adults.

Q. How will SKIP inform parents about useful strategies?

A. SKIP will partner with community groups working with families and children to develop training and resources for families. SKIP will not duplicate what already exists, but will build on what’s there and fill any gaps. Several groups have already approached the project team asking for support to develop initiatives.

Q. How much is this going to cost?

A. SKIP has a budget of $10.8 million over three years. It includes a $3.6 million SKIP Local Initiatives Fund for community groups wanting funding for local positive parenting projects, $4.4 million to be invested strengthening existing programmes and services and $1.8 million is being spent on the production of national resources to support the campaign.

Q. Is there any research informing the strategy?

A. Yes. The Ministry of Social Development has commissioned research, and early indications are that a majority of parents want more information on parenting. The Children’s Issues Centre in Dunedin has also conducted an in-depth review of relevant research. This research will be published shortly.

Q. What are effective strategies?

A. Effective strategies use love and nurture, and boundaries, to guide children. They teach children right from wrong and teach children to be independent, to know how to relate to other people and to be socially responsible.

Q. What if these don’t work?

A. Some children can be more difficult than others. Understanding why children behave the way they do is part of developing a range of strategies. There are times when children do seem completely out-of-control and there are lots of reasons they behave this way. They may be hungry, tired, scared or anxious, or simply testing boundaries. They may be going through a phase when tantrums are the only way they can deal with strong emotional overload. There are a number of effective strategies for coping with these times

Q. Why is the government launching SKIP?

A. Countries all over the world, including England, Ireland, Canada Scotland, Spain, Scandinavia, and Australia are doing similar work. This has been prompted by research and is supported by UNICEF and Save the Children. Effective parenting is part of a wider picture, where our children have the best possible opportunity to realise their full potential and grow into dependable adults. This Government is totally committed to that.

Q. Will other organisations be involved?

A. Yes. SKIP will work closely with community organisations such as Plunket, Barnardos, kindergartens and playcentres.

ENDS

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