Funding boost for Growing Up in New Zealand Study

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has today announced the Government will restore more than $1.9 million of funding to the Growing Up in New Zealand study.

Growing Up in New Zealand is the country’s largest longitudinal study of child development gathering information over time about what it’s like to grow up in 21st century New Zealand.

“Today’s announcement means all of the 6,800-plus families who have been part of the study since it began can now be invited to participate in the current round of data collection,” said Carmel Sepuloni

“One of the Growing Up study’s unique characteristics is its diversity* and restoring the sample from 2,000 back to its original size will allow for more detailed analysis of different ethnic groups such as Māori and Pacific peoples.

“Our decision to restore funding also comes at a critical point in the project, where for the first time the study is hearing from the children themselves,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“This Government wants New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child. Hearing the voice of children will be a powerful contribution to government policy makers’ and service providers’ understanding of how to best meet the needs of diverse New Zealand families and children.

“The participant children are now eight years old and study interviewers are currently in the field for the Eight Year Data Collection Wave. Around 2,000 child interviews have been completed to date and, with the new funding, interviews will now continue through the rest of 2018.

Findings from the Growing Up in New Zealand study, and further research done with anonymised data from the study, help inform which services and supports can give New Zealand children the best start in life.

“Since the study’s inception in 2008, more than 90,000 interviews have been carried out and more than 50 million pieces of data collected,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Information from the study has provided insights into a diverse range of areas such as paid parental leave, immunisation, family housing and mobility, household safety, participation in Early Childhood Education and pre- and post-natal depression among fathers.”

*A third of the cohort children were born to at least one parent who did not grow up in New Zealand and where at least one parent is multilingual.

 Editors notes:

 The increased funding forms part of new arrangements reached between the Ministry of Social Development, the government agency responsible for funding the study, UniServices Ltd and the University of Auckland, where the study is based.

The new agreement includes a number of changes to the way the study is governed. It will also ensure the study increases its focus on making the data more accessible and useable to a wider range of researchers to better inform government policy that will improve the lives of New Zealand children and families.

Responsibility for the Growing Up in New Zealand study transferred from Superu to the Ministry of Social Development in November 2017.

Growing Up in New Zealand’s newest report is due to be released mid-year.

 

Growing Up in New Zealand - Q&As

 What is Growing Up in New Zealand?

Growing Up in New Zealand is a contemporary longitudinal study of child development. It has been specifically designed to reflect the diverse lives of children growing up amidst the cultural, economic, societal and technological complexity of 21st century New Zealand.

The study is following a cohort of more than 6,800 children from approximately 12 weeks before birth until at least the age of 21. The study is particularly interested in finding out what works to confer resilience and optimise child development.

Growing Up in New Zealand is headed up by Research Director Associate Professor Susan Morton and Associate Director Professor Cameron Grant.

Who is the Growing Up in New Zealand generation?

The children who comprise the Growing Up in New Zealand cohort were born in 2008 and 2009 and were recruited from within greater Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waikato District Health Board areas. Children and families generously give their time to the study for free, with data collection waves taking place every two to three years.

What is a data collection wave?

A data collection wave involves gathering information from the participant children and families. Growing Up parents were first interviewed before their children were born. A data collection wave takes place every two to three years.

At each data collection wave, information is collected across six key areas:

 health and wellbeing

  • psychosocial and cognitive development
  • education
  • family/whānau
  • culture and identity
  • societal context and neighbourhood environment.

 For each family involved, data collection to date has involved:

eight face-to-face interviews

six telephone interviews, and

two web-based interviews.

Each data collection wave provides a snapshot of a single point in time. Each data collection wave is also carefully designed to fit together with what has been gathered before and what will be gathered at the next collection. This is what aids understanding of the developmental pathways children follow and how what happens in early life can influence the outcomes we see in adulthood.

What has the study found out so far?

Information from Growing Up in New Zealand has provided insights into a diverse range of areas such as paid parental leave, immunisation, family housing and mobility, household safety, participation in Early Childhood Education and pre- and post-natal depression among fathers. Growing Up in New Zealand’s newest report is due to be released mid-year.

Growing Up in New Zealand reports, policy briefs and scientific papers are available to view on the website: www.growingup.co.nz