3 May 2017

More funding from govt for vulnerable children, families

9:37 pm on 3 May 2017

Vulnerable children and their families will receive extra support in this month's Budget.

Prime Minister Bill English making the announcement in Wellington today.

Prime Minister Bill English making a pre-budget speech to business leaders in Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

The government has made the early announcement in Wellington, saying it is expanding its home visiting programme Family Start.

Prime Minister Bill English said just over $28 million would go to Family Start so it could help 570 more families.

A further $40m would support more children with behavioural and communication problems.

"This is work that comes directly out of the [Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study], which has followed children through to adulthood now for over 35 years and we're taking advice directly from that study about where and how to apply our public resource."

Mr English said the funding is part of a $321m investment in a social package designed to help children most at risk of long-term dysfunction.

More funding will be spent on helping schools work with violent children.

Last month, principals said teachers were at breaking point because of growing problems with badly behaved and violent children.

Now the government said it will provide $34.7m over four years to help children with behavioural issues, enabling the number receiving support services each year to go up from 5000 to 6000.

A further $6m over four years will be used to help three- and four-year-olds with communication problems.