ASK Strengthening Families - What is it?

Strengthening Families is about the coordination of a process for families, government agencies and non-government organisations(NGOs) working together to improve life outcomes for families, children and young people.  These outcomes include:

  • Better access to health and education
  • Better job prospects for young people
  • Improved ability to form positive relationships
  • Stronger families/whanau
  • Greater knowledge of available services

The approach recognises:

  • Families have a profound impact on outcomes for their children.
  • A collaborative approach among agencies and across the sectors involved with families is more effective for families than unilateral, separate interventions.
  • Early intervention in the life of a problem and in the life of a child creates lasting changes.
  • Families/whanau sometimes need support to help family members reach their full potential.

The key messages underpinning Strengthening Families include:

  • Prevention is better than cure.
  • Early intervention is better than crisis intervention.
  • Resilient parents.
  • Provide local solutions to local problems.
  • Find solutions through partnerships.
  • Develop potential - build capacity.


  • Voluntary for families/whanau
  • Strengths-based
  • Outcomes-focused
  • Respectful of tikanga Maori and cultural diversity
  • Collaborative - families, agencies and communities working together

Strengthening Families - Who can use it?

Any agency can refer a family to Strengthening Families.  Families/whanau can also self-refer.

Families direct the process.  They determine what information is shared and which agencies attend.  At the initial meeting, the family/whanau talks about its priorities and the agencies explain how they can assist.

The family/whanau and agencies then work together to develop an action plan that reflects the family's priorities and includes a timeframe for action.

Periodic review meetings are held to ensure the action plan is working.