Fund­ing cut con­cerns fam­i­lies

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - ABBY BROWN

Two lo­cal women have spo­ken up about the im­por­tance of Par­ents As First Teach­ers af­ter the gov­ern­ment canned fund­ing for the group.

‘‘I would have been screwed with­out PAFT,’’ Deanna Har­rod said.

She said her par­ent ed­u­ca­tor acted as a sound­ing board for her and many of the 124 other clients in the area.

Another client, Sian van Heu­ven, said PAFT was a life­line for ru­rally iso­lated first time moth­ers like her.

‘‘PAFT sup­ported my­self and other mums who are a lit­tle so­cially iso­lated with home vis­its, guid­ance, in­for­ma­tion and ed­u­ca­tion to help our chil­dren de­velop dur­ing their cru­cial early years,’’ the English woman who moved from Southamp­ton to Mata­mata in 2008 said.

‘‘Liv­ing ru­rally and with­out the sup­port of my fam­ily back home, they have pro­vided in­valu­able sup­port to our fam­ily as we try to bal­ance the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of run­ning a farm and be­ing the best par­ents we can be.’’

The for­mer nurse said she was sad­dened at the re­cent an­nounce­ment that the gov­ern­ment was mov­ing the an­nual $7.3 mil­lion in fund­ing that PAFT had to the Fam­ily Start pro­gramme in­stead.

‘‘This is a huge blow for our ru­ral com­mu­nity; I feel this re­moval of sup­port will have a huge im­pact on my fam­ily and other lo­cal fam­i­lies who rely on the ser­vice for sup­port.’’

She de­scribed the ser­vice as an ambulance on top of cliff as she felt hav­ing an ed­u­ca­tor come once a month to their home prob­a­bly pre­vented a lot of moth­ers and chil­dren get­ting into vul­ner­a­ble states.

So­cial Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Anne Tol­ley said mak­ing the money more tar­geted fit­ted with the gov­ern­ment’s so­cial in­vest­ment ap­proach.

Although van Heu­ven ap­pre­ci­ated what the gov­ern­ment were try­ing to do with the fund­ing, she said re­gard­less of so­cioe­co­nomics, all moth­ers needed sup­port.

‘‘PAFT should be avail­able to all com­mu­ni­ties as all new par­ents are likely to feel vul­ner­a­ble at some stage.’’Both moth­ers urged ev­ery­one to sign a pe­ti­tion, which called for the fund­ing to re­main.

PHOTO: ABBY BROWN

Sian van Heu­ven and Deanna Har­rod say their chil­dren Layla and Eli have re­ally ben­e­fited from PAFT.

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