Investing wisely is about knowing where the greatest needs are
Some children have greater needs than others. They can be grouped into four areas: very young children, Maori and Pasifika children, children in sole-parent families and children in severe and persistent poverty.
Where is help needed most?
- Very young children
- Maori and Pasifika children
- Children in sole-parent families
- Children in severe and persistent poverty
When children face risks from two or more of these factors, the risks and their vulnerability increase greatly.
Very young children:
Things that help the youngest children, even before birth, have the biggest chance both to prevent harm and have long-term benefits.
Before birth and up to pre-school age, babies' bodies and brains are growing fastest. Effects of poverty at this age can be long lasting, but helping these children can improve their outcomes for life.
There is strong evidence that investment at this stage of a child's life has the greatest return on investment and greatest impact.
Māori and Pasifika children:
Māori and Pasifika children are priorities because they suffer the greatest rates of poverty, which means:
- Māori children are at least twice as likely as European children to spend long times in poverty and in severe poverty.
- Infectious diseases and other conditions put Māori and Pasifika children in hospital twice as much as other children.
- Māori and Pasifika children are twice as likely to leave school without achieving NCEA level 2 than European and Asian children.
Children in sole-parent families
Sole-parents face considerably more challenges than two-parent families.
- Over half of children in poverty live in sole-parent families.
- They are more likely to experience poverty for a long time.
- It is harder to find work and/or childcare that fits around the needs of families when there is only one person to care for the children.
- Sole-parent families suffer less access to 'other support' than two-parent families, so many miss out on this key resilience factor.
Children in severe and persistent poverty
While most families in poverty are there for a short period, the children who are the most vulnerable are those in severe and persistent poverty.
- Across New Zealand, three out of five children living in poverty live this way for many years.
- The negative effects of poverty are much greater for children who are in severe and persistent poverty.
- Hope and aspirations can be ground down over the long duration children are living in poverty