Final data-set enhances at-risk youth profile

  • Bill English

Further data on the risk factors that indicate children are likely to lead difficult lives has been released today, giving social service providers valuable insights into the issues these vulnerable children face, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Since 2013, Statistics New Zealand has collected data from government agencies including the Ministries of Social Development, Health and Education, as well as Child Youth and Family, Corrections, Police and Housing to create the world-leading Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI).

The Treasury last year published two reports analysing the data to identify the risk factors faced by 0-5 year olds, and also 15-24 year olds.

Mr English says today’s publication extends the analysis to include 0-14 year olds, giving a broader picture.

“Like the two earlier reports, the analysis of the risk factors affecting 0-14 year olds has produced information that will help government agencies, NGO’s, Iwi, Pacifika, and the wider social sector understand the needs of the most vulnerable New Zealanders.”

The analysis has identified four indicators that could lead to poor outcomes later in the lives of this group of children. These are:

  • a CYF finding of abuse or neglect
  • being supported by benefits for most of their lifetime
  • having a parent who has received a corrective sentence
  • having a mother with no formal qualifications

Compared to 0-14 year olds with fewer than two of the four indicators, those with two or more indicators are:

  • three times more likely to leave school with no qualifications
  • three times more likely to receive benefits for more than five years between ages 25 and 34
  • three times more likely to receive a prison or community sentence between ages 25 and 34
  • six times more likely to be referred to Youth Justice services
  • four times more likely to be on a sole parent benefit by age 21

Mr English says this means as they grow older, more than a fifth of children who have two or more of these indicators will be on a benefit for five or more years or serve a prison or community sentence.

“Those are grim outcomes by any standards. This information - which is being made widely available - will enable the social sector to create solutions and interventions to better help vulnerable people make positive changes to their lives.”

Alongside the 0-14 year old data-set, Mr English has also launched an online mapping tool called Social Investment Insights which allows users to point and click to drill down into the data by location.

“The Government’s programme of social investment is about using information to improve the lives of New Zealanders with evidence-based investment in social services.

“For the first time we can see the risk-factors affecting young people within their various communities - with the necessary privacy protocols in place.

“This is priceless information for service providers who need to understand the people they are trying to help.

“We want to reduce misery, rather than service it and that requires a deep understanding of the drivers of social dysfunction.”

To view the online mapping tool, click here.

To view the IDI analysis of at-risk 0-5 year olds, click here.

To view the IDI analysis of at-risk 0-14 year olds, click here.

To view the IDI analysis of at-risk 15-24 year olds, click here.