Positive findings for Family Start

Published: May 9, 2017

Recent research has highlighted the positive impact of the Family Start programme for different groups of children.

A home visiting programme making an impact

Family Start is an intensive home visiting programme that supports families and whānau who are struggling with challenges or problems that put health, education and social outcomes for their children at risk. The study builds on previous work, examining the impact of Family Start for specific groups of children. Its results show further evidence of the benefits of getting to the right people at the right time.

Evidence of positive outcomes

The latest findings show the programme supports children across a number of specific groups, for example:

  • there was reduced infant mortality for Māori children who received Family Start from a Māori provider organisation and for those who received Family Start from a mainstream organisation
  • in addition to reduced infant mortality, there were improved immunisation and PHO enrolment results for Māori children who received Family Start from a Māori provider organisation
  • not only first-born children benefited from the programme – families with subsequent children also benefited
  • Family Start helped families with older, non-teen mothers as well as families with teen mothers.
    Improved co-ordination of services where the same organisation provides Family Start and other health services may explain the better results for Māori children served by Māori providers.

The research also helps us understand where we can work more intensively. For example some high needs groups such as families with a Child, Youth and Familty background need extra support to help them benefit from the programme.

Investment will expand Family Start

This year’s Budget invests an extra $28 million over four years to expand Family Start. Altogether the programme will provide intensive support for around two years to over 7,100 families at any one time.

View the evaluation reports on the Ministry of Social Development website

Learn more about the Family Start Programme