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All seven Supported Teen Parent Homes now open

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development & Employment and Youth Affairs

19 August 2011

All seven Supported Teen Parent Homes now open

The Minister of Social Development officially opened the first Supported Teen Parent Home in Gisborne today, the last of seven to open around the country

“We said we’d open seven supported homes for teen parents and it’s fantastic to celebrate this milestone with Te Aka Ora House,” says Ms Bennett.

“Since the beginning of this year, we have opened supported houses in Auckland, Manukau, Christchurch, Rotorua, Hastings and Whangarei,” says Ms Bennett.

“The National-led Government is placing a real priority on vulnerable teen parents, to ensure they get the right support,” says Ms Bennett.

“We’ve put fifteen million dollars into teen parents, the biggest investment in teen parent services ever, because we think it’s vital,” says Ms Bennett.

Supported homes for teen parents provide around the clock supervision with trained staff, social workers, support workers and volunteers.

Teen parents receive parenting, budgeting and life skills as well as help to make plans for their future in education or work.

“Already 45 young mums and their babies have gained a haven with supportive adults on hand 24 hours a day, every day,” says Ms Bennett.

“The idea is to ensure these young parents are equipped to be independent, good parents and the support continues once they leave the home to ensure they get off to the right start,” says Ms Bennett.

Other teen parent initiatives include:

• Extra social workers in hospitals
• Extra teen parent intensive case managers
• Parenting support for teen dads

The key goals for the teen supported homes are to:

• provide a safe and stable living environment for vulnerable teen parents and their babies
• ensure early attachment and bonding is formed in a supported way
• ensure health, education, economic wellbeing and parenting skills are addressed so teen parents can successfully transition to independent living
• reduce the likelihood of further unplanned teen pregnancies

The houses are for young people who are unable to be supported by their parents and who lack resources to find a suitable and stable place to live.

“With the support of the house parents, the whole Te Aka Ora family, plus the local community, this will be a safe home where we can strengthen Tairawhiti’s most vulnerable young mothers and their children,” says Ms Bennett.

ENDS

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