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Opportunities for Teen Parents changes lives

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Minister of Youth Affairs

28 August 2008 Media Statement

Better opportunities for Teen Parents changes lives

"Keeping teen parents engaged in education and training is fundamental to improving intergenerational opportunity," said Minister of Youth Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta.

Providing further training for teen parent educators leads the agenda for this year’s teen parent education conference starting in Auckland today.

The annual Association of Teen Parent Education New Zealand (ATPENZ) conference brings together around eighty teen parent unit educators from the twenty teen parent units around the country.

“This conference is an excellent opportunity for the educators to discuss the range of social issues facing young women in their teen units. It is important to understand the kind of social support they need so they can concentrate on learning to the best of their ability,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

This year’s theme is ‘Educating the Educators’ which focuses on improving teachers’ skills through the Ministry of Education’s Schooling Improvement Project. Emphasis is also being placed on the health and welfare of students.

"I was pleased to join Minister Steve Chadwick at Titiro Whakamua in Upper Hutt earlier in the year when we announced that the Government would provide $17.2 million of additional funding over the next 4 years to support the extension of school-based health services for young people," said Nanaia Mahuta.

"Importantly this funding will be targeted to decile 1 – 3 schools, teen parent units and alternative education students which can make a real difference to their health and well-being," said Nanaia Mahuta.

Services will be based on the needs of the students and will be worked out between the schools, the District Health Boards and their local Primary Health Organisations. It is expected that services will be mainly nurse-led, but GPs may also play a part.

"If we want our young teen parents to have a 'better go' at second chance learning, and we are serious about this, we need to create the best environment we can for this to happen," said Nanaia Mahuta.

There are now 21 teen parent units around the country, funded since 2000 by the Ministry of Education. Three units remain independent of the Ministry of Education. Around 500 teen parents are enrolled in the schools.


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