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Early Intervention Services and Challenges in New Zealand

nzrece journal


Full reference

Liberty, K. (2014). Early intervention in Aotearoa New Zealand: Services and challenges.  NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, 17, 115-146.



This paper describes the bicultural model of early intervention in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the challenges facing the delivery of effective services.

The early intervention system is inclusive of culturally different concepts of development, family, disability, wellbeing, risk, prevention and intervention, as well as Kaupapa Māori and Western science evidence-based practices.

Service frameworks emphasise culturally appropriate interactions with children and families. However, challenges to improve services exist. Population growth and increasing prevalence of needs associated with early intervention challenge the existing coverage of services.

New needs identification systems are highlighting significant gaps between the number of children likely to require early intervention and the number receiving services. Additional challenges in service delivery, retention of families, and difficulties with supporting children with early intervention needs in early childhood services also require attention.

Finally, culturally appropriate services should be replaced by culturally responsive services to improve early intervention for Māori.

It is urgent that a review of early intervention be undertaken to determine the best approaches to meet the needs of young children with early intervention needs.

Key words: Early intervention; service delivery; cultural responsiveness.


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