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Treasury report, infographics and online tool on youth at risk

March 03, 2016 at 4:07 PM

Treasury report, infographics and online tool on youth at risk

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

The Treasury has released a report,Characteristics of Children at Greater Risk of Poor Outcomes as Adults. The report examines theIntegrated Data Infrastructure(IDI) data set for risk factors that could lead to poor outcomes for children.

This new report focuses on risk factors for children 0 to 14. Alongside the report, Treasury release a 6 page overview using infographics and a Social Investment Insights online mapping tool.

This new report and the online tool expand two reports published in 2015. These reports focused on risk factors for children aged 0 to 14 and youth aged 15 to 24. The reports all draw on the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). The IDI is an integrated administrative dataset which Statistics New Zealand has been working to create since 2013, by collecting data from a number of government agencies including the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Health, Police, Child, Youth and Family and others.

The latest report found “A small number of key characteristics (or indicators) observed in the agency’s administrative data are highly correlated with poorer outcomes as young adults.” Specifically it identified the following indicators:

  • 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 and
  • having a mother with no formal qualifications.

Finance Minister Bill English said, "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"

The Social Investments Insights online mapping tool allows users to examine risk factors at regional levels by gender, age group and number of risk factors. 

Finance Minister Bill English said the intention of the information is to "... enable the social sector to create solutions and interventions to better help vulnerable people make positive changes to their lives."

In a speech to the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand, Mr English said, 

"We're making this publicly available in part because service providers also need to understand the people they are trying to help. We want to open up more data sets to public scrutiny - with appropriate privacy controls - allowing NGOs and the private sector to do their own analysis and draw their own conclusions."

The report follows debate sparked by the Salvation Army’s annual State of the Nation report which questions the reliability of government data and targets.

In the 2015 Treasury reports, the authors cautioned that "While the results highlight the power of using integrated administrative data in new and innovative ways, some of the methods are exploratory in nature, and as such the results should be considered as preliminary, requiring further testing and development over time."

The infographics report also highlights that risk factors do not always lead to poorer outcomes and that "Measuring risk is inexact and services will always need to be flexible enough to provide support based on individual need."

The New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse has also recommended ways in which administrative data collection needs to be improved. Click here for further information