PAFT closure will leave families without help

Posted By TEU on Jul 7, 2016 |


Hau Taki Haere Vol 19 No 24

The government’s budget decision to cut not just some but all funding for its Parents as First Teachers (PAFT) programme will leave many parents without the education and support the programme currently provides.

The government’s social development minister Anne Tolley is shifting the money from the PAFT education programme that helps tens of thousands of parents learn about their child’s development, to Family Start which is much more targeted support programme (rather than an education programme) which currently helps a much smaller group of at-risk families.

TEU organiser Jane Kostanich says both programmes are important, but it is foolhardy to cut PAFT, which reduces the number of at-risk families, so that more money can be put into supporting the most at-risk families.

Kostanich says that, with all its funding cut, PAFT will close on 30 September and many of the highly skilled people working at PAFT, many of whom are TEU members, will lose their jobs.

The Labour Party’s spokesperson for social development Jacinda Ardern says that in many areas, especially rural areas, PAFT, is the only early intervention programme available for parents.

She says even in Wellington there will be more than 100 families enrolled in PAFT who will have nowhere to go when it closes.

Ardern says PAFT teachers help a huge number of women living with violence, suffering post-natal depression, struggling with premature birth or with English as a second language, or just living without support.

She is asking the minister to meet with PAFT teachers and petitioners about her decision to cut the programme.

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