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National will put families at the forefront of our social services sector and ensure they’re supported to raise healthy Kiwi kids, National’s Children spokesperson Alfred Ngaro says.

“Families are at the heart of everything we do, and it’s so important they’ve got the right support available so that Kiwi kids have the best possible start to their lives.

“National is proposing initiatives which will support all Kiwi families. We know families face a diverse range of challenges, and we want to ensure all of those families can access the support they need.

“For example, we know young mums need support. We’ll provide intensive home visiting programmes to all mums under the age of 18 and some under the age of 20. We also want to support young mums to improve their education so they’ve got skills and qualifications that are recognised by employers.

“Up to 90 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs before the age of five, and the most crucial role in this development is played by parents. Some children do struggle, but by improving parental education, we can identify these issues early on in children’s lives.

“We’re also proposing introducing minimum standards for antenatal and postnatal education so parents get accurate, up-to-date information about how to grow happy, healthy Kiwi kids.

“We believe foster carers and grandparents raising grandchildren do an incredible job supporting some of our most vulnerable children. We want to ensure they feel confident, capable and supported, so we’ll ensure appropriate support is available for foster carers. We’ll also look at making emergency income support available for grandparent caregivers.

“We’re aspirational for New Zealanders. We want to give them the targeted, tailored support they need to reach their full potential and live better lives, right from the first 1,000 days.”

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