We advocate for the interests, rights and wellbeing of children and young people

“Wellbeing” is a complex concept.  We know it when we see it (or its absence) but it is hard to define. We think that:

  • wellbeing is a positive state that is more than just existing
  • almost everyone aspires to wellbeing
  • wellbeing is both subjective and objective: both how people feel about their lives and their actual material conditions matter
  • wellbeing is a dynamic state that changes over both the short and long-term
  • wellbeing is related to individuals’ opportunities to  participate in society and have their rights and needs fulfilled
  • having wellbeing is not the same as being happy all the time – ups and downs are part of life
  • culture shapes how people think about the concept of wellbeing generally, and how they feel about their own wellbeing.

In addition, child wellbeing:

  • is dependent on the wellbeing of their family and whānau wellbeing, particularly parents wellbeing
  • is equally important for children’s lives now as it is for their development into future adults
  • needs to be understood in discussion with real children and young people.

Work towards child wellbeing needs ongoing focus and resourcing.

Our working definition of child wellbeing

Wellbeing is a complex concept and our thinking will continue to develop over time. To begin this journey, we have reviewed academic and government documents and looked back at what children and young people have told us about what is important to them. We thank Superu (the Families Commission) for its work on family and whānau wellbeing, which we have drawn on in formulating our approach.

Our working definition of child wellbeing is:

Wellbeing is a positive state and not simply the absence of negatives. Children experience wellbeing when their family and whānau are connected and united; relationships within and beyond the family and whānau are thriving; family and whānau members support each other; there are opportunities for individual and collective growth; and all members of their family and whānau have their needs met. A community has achieved child wellbeing when all children and their whānau have their rights fulfilled and the conditions are in place to enable all children to participate in society and plan, develop and achieve meaningful lives.