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Sites announced for $10M expansion of Family Start

Sites announced for $10M expansion of Family Start

The locations for the $10 million a year expansion of the government's Family Start service were announced today by Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Family Start provides assistance to families with children aged up to five years whose family and social circumstances place their health, education and well-being at risk. The service helps families set goals for the future, assists them in developing a plan to meet those goals and then provides parenting education and in-home assistance to get them on the right track.

Family Start will be expanded to 11 new sites over the next two years on the basis of its success to date. The programme is currently operating in 16 sites around the country.

"New Zealand families want the best for their children," Steve Maharey said. "Family Start is about building strong families and enabling them to work towards bright futures for their children.

"We've learned over the past few years that Family Start works – last year alone more than 4,000 vulnerable families with pre-school children were helped by the service. This expansion will see that number grow to 6,000 when the 11 new sites are set up over the next two years."

The first four new sites for Family Start – Auckland, Manukau, Opotiki and Lower Hutt – will be up and running by the end of June this year. The additional seven new sites will be in Kaikohe, Papakura, Ruapehu District, Waikato District, South Waikato District, Taupo District and Napier City.

The government currently invests over $18 million a year in Family Start. This expansion will increase the annual investment to nearly $29 million.

The current 16 Family Start services are managed by different government agencies. The Ministry of Health and Child, Youth and Family each manage five of the sites with the Ministry of Education managing the other six sites. From 1 July this year, management of Child, Youth and Family’s sites will transfer to the Ministry of Social Development’s new Family and Community Services agency.

All of the 11 new sites will be managed by the Ministry of Social Development.

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