Ka tīmata te whānau ki te tono


Fill out this form to refer your family or a family you know to our Family Start service.

Referral Guide

The three main aims of Family Start are to help:

  • improve health, education and social outcomes for children
  • improve parent's parenting capability and practice
  • improve children's and parent's personal and family circumstances.

Family Start promotes and acts on the child's safety at all times.

A Family Start whānau worker will visit the family regularly (weekly at first). They will:

  • assess the family's situation
  • help them make an individual plan focussed on goals for the child's wellbeing and safety
  • offer the family advice and guidance about achieving their goals
  • encourage parents to ensure the child gets appropriate health care
  • connect the family with other services, agencies or resources they might need
  • facilitate regular parenting discussions with the family to help them understand their child's needs at different stages as they grow.

Referral Age

Referrals can be made from when the woman is pregnant up to when the baby is 12 months old. In exceptional circumstances, a child may be accepted into the program up to two years old.

Families can stay in the programme until they have achieved their goals, the child's wellbeing is enhanced, parents' confidence is increased, and living circumstances are improved. Families cannot stay in the program beyond the child's fifth birthday.

Referral Criteria

Research and practice experience show that the situations listed in the criteria below are likely to put children at risk of health, development and social problems. These are the situations Family Start is targeting to help.

Our Family Start providers are happy to talk through any potential referral if you or the family are unsure if the programme is right for them.

List A: Family Start criteria. Families need to experience challenges in one of these areas to be referred.

  • Mental health issues
  • Difficulties with drugs, alcohol or gambling
  • Childhood history of abuse
  • Care and protection history
  • Relationship problems
  • Child health and development issues
  • Young parent with additional challenges or needs

List B: Indicators of potential need. The following are additional issues that in themselves would not meet the criteria for Family Start. Where there is a combination of these, we may be able to make an exception.

  • Lacks positive support networks
  • Financial and material resources
  • Frequent change of address
  • Low parent education
  • Criminal justice involvement (adults in the family/whānau)

When referring a family to Family Start, please ensure that:

  • the family is aware of your worries and why you think a referral might help them. We encourage referrers to complete the referral form with the family
  • the strengths and aspirations of the family are acknowledged
  • the family consents to being referred

Our Family Start providers are happy to talk through any potential referral if you or the family are unsure if the programme is right for them.

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