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A sure start for children in need

19 May 2005

Hon Steve Maharey Minister for Social Development and Employment

A sure start for children in need

Programmes aimed at children and families in greatest need will get a $47 million boost in this year's budget, says Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

"This government is committed to ensuring all children receive the early support they need to equip them for the future. These initiatives – which are consistent with the approach advocated by United Future - will help to ensure every child gets a good start, through improved parenting, better access to Early Childhood Education and services for at-risk families.

"The initiatives complement targeted support offered to over half of all families through the Working for Families package, which continues its roll-out this year. The changes will see an average increase of $100 a week in support available to families with children in the $25,000 to $45,000 income band by the time the package is fully rolled out in 2007.

Initiatives include: Expansion of Family Start to provide advice and support services to an additional 300 high needs families in rural communities ($6.2 million) Study awards to increase the qualifications of Family Start workers ($4.2 million) Pilot Parenting Support Service which will provide practical support and advice for parents with young children ($2.1 million)

New services for children who witness family violence ($12 million previously announced) Improved access to Early Childhood Education for children in Family Start families ($8.4 million) Providing parent education and information programmes through the Family Court and piloting ECE centre-based parent education ($10.8 million)

Continuation of the Families Innovation Fund for regional and local initiatives to support community-based programmes ($1.8 million) Study awards for NGO staff studying towards social work degrees ($5.4 million) Increased paid hours of work for Strengthening Families coordinators from 25 to 30 ($2.3 million).

ENDS

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