Support from Family Start

Family Start is about improving a child's health, learning and relationships.

Participation in the programme is voluntary, and it supports families and whānau who are struggling with challenges or problems that put the health, education and wellbeing of a child at risk. 

Please visit Family Start website for more information

Criteria for Family Start

Family Start visits can start in the early stages of pregnancy (from three months) and referrals are taken up until a baby is 1 year old. Family Start may continue with the same family until a child is school aged, but only if needed.

In exceptional circumstances, a new referral can be taken for a child of up to 2 years.

Please view the Family Start Referral Guide on Oranga Tamariki website.

Providers that can refer to Family Start

If you would like to refer a family or whānau to Family Start, you can talk to a doctor, midwife, Well Child nurse, or any service involved with a family.

Please view the Family Start Service Providers List.

The evidence base for Family Start

Quasi-Experimental Study was completed in February 2016 that reported on the impact of the Family Start home visiting programme on mothers and children. The most significant finding of the study is robust evidence that Family Start reduced post neonatal infant mortality.

The need for health services

Young children need access to universal health services to remain healthy, continue to grow and develop, and prevent more serious conditions that require hospitalisation. Young children in difficult circumstances often miss out on the health care they need. This is why Family Start is working with universal 0–5 (years of age) health service providers.

General health services

General health services include general practice, immunisations, Well Child Tamariki Ora, B4 School and oral health checks, and newborn hearing screening.

Free health services

  • There is no charge for general practice visits for eligible children aged under 13, but general practices usually charge a fee for adults and older children.
  • Immunisations provided from the immunisation schedule are free.
  • Dental care is free until children turn 18 years old.
  • Newborn hearing screening, Well Child Tamariki Ora and B4 School checks are also free.

More information on health services

You can find health service information for 0–5-year-olds at Services and support for you and your child.

A health and education handbook for families and carers can be found at Hand in Hand Book (PDF, 1.8 MB).