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Ministers to focus on early intervention

24 July 2006

Ministers to focus on early intervention

The government is signalling changes to the way it funds and manages early intervention programmes that support children and families to get a good start in life, says Education Minister Steve Maharey.

The strengthened approach to early intervention was highlighted by the Ministers of Education, Health, Child Youth and Family, and Community and Voluntary Sector on a visit to a number of programmes in Porirua today.

"Over the next two Budgets, we will be moving to strengthen our work under a single programme of action around early intervention," says Steve Maharey.

"Early intervention is the key to addressing a large number of the problems facing New Zealand families and communities, including issues around obesity and the hardship and violence that too many young New Zealanders endure."

Steve Maharey said he was working closely with other Ministers to develop a joint programme of work that focuses on children in the early years.

"This will span everything from the major investments we're making in health and early childhood education, to the parenting support we provide through the Ministry of Social Development, through to Te Rito, a government-wide programme aimed at preventing family violence.

"A key the focus will be on helping communities and families support themselves to find lasting solutions."

Steve Maharey said the benefits of investments the government was making to support communities with early intervention, were evident in the Porirua community.

"Programmes like Fruit in Schools at Glenview, the Eastern Porirua Community Renewal Project and work at A'oga Amata, which provides parenting support, are all examples of work that's driven from within the community and that makes a real impact on families and children."

Steve Maharey said details of major work around tackling obesity, preventing family violence and lowering the costs of early childhood education were due to be announced later in the year.

ENDS

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