Nearly a quarter of New Zealand children born in 1998 ended up being reported to the country’s child welfare agencies, a new report has found.
The study by the Auckland University of Technology tracked 55,443 children born in 1998 until the end of 2015.
By the age of 17, 23.5% of children had had at least one report made regarding their welfare to child protection services, while almost 10% had been subject to substantiated abuse or neglect, and 3% had been put into foster or alternative care, with boys being more affected.
Last year, 60% of children in state care were Māori.
According to Unicef, New Zealand has one of the worst rates of child abuse in the developed world, with more than 150,000 notifications of child welfare made to the ministry of children every year.
New Zealand also has the highest rate of teen suicide in the developed world.
The report found it was more common for the cohort of children studied to be reported to child services than have asthma, and by age 17, 3.2% of girls and 0.8% of boys had experienced sexual abuse.
The New Zealand children’s commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft, called the findings “profoundly disturbing”, and said efforts needed to be targeted towards prevention and early intervention, with the report finding half the substantiated neglect cases occurred by the age of six-years-old.
Becroft added that although the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, had set out the admirable vision of making New Zealand the best country in the world in which to be a child, there was a gulf between “children who do so well and are so loved and cared for, and that 10% who really struggle”.
“This is not the New Zealand I grew up in and its a relatively recent phenomenon, some of these statistics. It all seemed to happen in the late 80s, early 90s, that was when there was a big spike in the negative statistics that have continued,” said Becroft.
The report’s authors concluded that both notifications regarding children’s welfare and substantiated child maltreatment were more common in New Zealand than was generally realised. The findings raised serious questions about whether child welfare systems were “resourced and organized appropriately”.
The minister for children, Tracey Martin, said the report demonstrated that there had been a high level of reporting of child welfare concerns – and that was a good thing.
“This research confirms we have a problem in New Zealand with harm to children and we simply have to do better,” said Martin.
“Unfortunately, there are still too many adults who, for whatever reason, can’t cope or do the right thing. We’re talking about some of the most difficult issues in our society, families that don’t function well and how we help and support children who have not had a good start.”
“I think it is important to have high levels of notification, and that in and of itself is not a concern. But what’s surprising is the one in ten who go on to be substantiated.” she said.
Rhema Vaithianathan, co-director of the centre for social data analytics at AUT and co-author of the report, said the findings should help push New Zealand into addressing its entrenched child abuse and neglect issues.
“If you think about a starting classroom of 30 children, what this says is that three children in that classroom will end up with a substantiated abuse by the time they turn 18. So that is a pretty amazing fact when you think about the type of lives that some children are leading, and I feel there is more that can be done.”
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.