Family Start

The Family Start programme is an intensive home-based service which works alongside parents/caregivers to help achieve better health, education and social outcomes for their children. We support families in the areas of child development and safety, mental health, substance abuse, addictions, domestic violence or any other issues pertaining to family needs.


  • improve the health, education and wellbeing of children
  • focus on child development
  • improve parenting
  • improve circumstances for parents
  • strengthen and improve the family situation

How Family Start can help you

Family Start is a free and voluntary home-based programme which provides intensive on-going support to parents of children for the first five years of a child's life.

Each family is matched with a family/whānau worker appropriate to their needs.

The family/whānau worker will work with families to develop a plan which best suits their needs and then help them reach their goals in the plan. We work alongside other agencies such as WellChild Services, Plunket, budgeting advice, and government agencies.

Families can come to us, beginning when the mother is pregnant up until the child turns 12 months old, or older with manager’s discretion.  The family can remain involved until the child is five years old or starts school.

Families must be prepared to be available for visits in the home. Beginning with weekly visits and then fortnightly once we have gotten to know each other and worked through some of the things you may be needing assistance with.

To be eligible for the Family Start programme you must live in or within 30 minutes of the Invercargill city boundary or in the Te Anau, Manapouri, Mataura or Gore townships.

Read more about the Family Start experience here

"We found Family Works very helpful through our lives."