This report collates feedback from Family Start and Early Start kaimahi in relation to Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Family Start is an early home visiting programme focused on children and tamariki. The program is voluntary and works with whānau and families to realise better outcomes for their children. Family Start is acknowledged as being well placed to work with whānau at the early stages of ‘things going wrong within the whānau’.
Family Start service includes:
- undertaking Strength and Needs Assessments
- early identification of family/sexual violence
- development of Child Family Plans and Child Safety tools
- home visiting
- referrals to specialist services.
This report is part of a response to the Te Aorerekura National Strategy. Te Aorerekura – the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence includes Action 32 to ‘improve the Family Start service’ by providing
additional training and support for Family Start kaimahi to be more knowledgeable and confident in working with whānau who experience Family Violence or Sexual Violence. Oranga Tamariki is the lead agency for Action 32.
The questionnaire for this survey was developed in consultation with the Evidence Centre and was launched on Qualtrics, a third-party software, in November 2022.The survey was distributed by email to key Family Start contacts, with approximately 47 Family Start providers invited to take part in the survey. 365 Family Start kaimahi (inclusive of Early Start kaimahi) responded to the survey, with at least one kaimahi from 44 Family Start providers responding out of the 47 Family Start providers across the motu (a provider response rate of over 93%).
All information from kaimahi was linked to their Family Start site but data did not identify individual kaimahi. A mixed methods approach was undertaken for the survey and analysis, with a thematic ’ground up’ analysis undertaken on the qualitative (open text) data to find patterns in kaimahi responses.
Important notes on data limitations
The survey dataset has limitations that should be considered when interpreting the results in this report. Limitations include the relatively small number of responses, regional differences in response rates, and that some Family Start providers responded on behalf of their entire organisation/site (one response for multiple kaimahi). Twenty-nine percent of all responses came from the Southern region, compared to 9% from Te Tai Tokerau. Six responses were discarded in regional breakdowns as they were from providers not specified in the survey dropdown.
Increasing responses within providers could improve our understanding of regional differences and provide a clearer picture of the knowledge, training, and confidence of Family Start kaimahi. Despite this limitation, almost all providers had one response (44 out of 47).
While the dataset had a good coverage of whānau workers (73%), fewer responses for other roles mean interpretating differences in responses between role types should be taken with a grain of salt’. Responders who selected role type “Other” were discarded from the role breakdowns (40 responses).
Additionally, comparing actual training data to the self-rated training responses could improve accuracy.
It is important to note that the results in this report have not focused on groups of importance, such as Māori, Pacific peoples, people with disabilities and gender diversity. This does not diminish the importance of considering the perspectives and needs of these communities in both decision-making processes and research design for future iterations of this report.
We found that Family Start workers wanted to learn practical tools which could be applied to their work, and they mentioned specific topics and training providers in their responses.
Improving training for our providers is a key part of the National Strategy to Eliminate Family Violence and Sexual Violence, and the survey results will help inform decisions about Family Start workers’ training. Bespoke family violence training and sexual violence training is to be developed by 30 June 2023 for delivery between July 2023 and June 2024.