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Results 2-4

Why are these important for New Zealand?

We know there is a link between early childhood experiences and adult mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, poor educational outcomes and unemployment. Too many children are at risk of poor outcomes because they do not get the early support they need.

The human and financial costs of not facing up to these challenges are too high. We know that remedial spending is often less effective, and more costly, than getting it right the first time. For example, treating rheumatic fever alone costs an estimated $40 million a year in New Zealand.

Early intervention brings benefits in terms of reduced imprisonment and arrest rates, higher employment and higher earnings later in life. By doing better for vulnerable children, we could set them on a pathway to a positive future, and help build a more productive and competitive economy for all New Zealanders

How will we know we are achieving these results?

The Government’s targets for supporting vulnerable children:

Result 2: Increase participation in early childhood education

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VIDEO: Community Innovations in Early Childhood Education

In 2016, 98% of children starting school will have participated in quality early childhood education.

The percentage of children who have attended ECE before starting school has steadily increased each year since 2000, and was 96.6% for children starting school in the year to June 30, 2016. This is an increase of 2 percentage points since the year ending 30 June 2011.

The Ministry of Education is intensifying engagement with priority communities in order to reach the 98% target in 2016.

Figure 1


You can see the datasets at data.govt.nz.

VIDEO: Whakaue Rotorua

VIDEO: Early Learning Taskforce - Wairoa/Kaikohe

Case Studies Result 2

Read more about what the Ministry of Education are doing to achieve Result 2.

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Result 3: Infant immunisation

A rate of 93.3% was reached in December 2016 for babies turning eight months of age. This represents an increase of 8% in infant immunisation coverage since the start of the target (June 2012).

Figure 1

You can see the datasets at data.govt.nz.

Case Studies Result 3 - Immunisation

Result 3: Rheumatic fever

The incidence rate for rheumatic fever initial hospitalisations for the 2016 calendar year is 3.0 cases per 100,000 people (137 hospitalisations). This represents a 23 percent statistically significant decrease in first episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations from the baseline (2009/10-2011/12) rate of 4.0 per 100,000.

Figure 2. First episode rheumatic fever hospitalisations, annual rate per 100,000, New Zealand 2002–2016

You can see the datasets at data.govt.nz.

VIDEO: Rheumatic Fever – A Parent's Perspective

VIDEO: Rheumatic fever - Sore Throat Clinic


Case Studies Result 3 - Rheumatic fever

Read what the Ministry of Health are doing to achieve Result 3.

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Result 4: Assaults on children

By 2017, we aim to halt the 10-year rise in children experiencing physical abuse and reduce 2011 numbers by five per cent.

This is extremely ambitious. In 2011, numbers were rising, and projected to rise further without intervention. Meeting this target means bringing the projected number of approximately 4,000 children expected to experience substantiated physical abuse down to less than 3000 by June 2017, which is a reduction of approximately 25 per cent in projected numbers.

The number of children experiencing substantiated physical abuse is measured on a 12 monthly basis.  In the year to September 2016, physical abuse was substantiated for 3,051 children, compared to 3,011 for the year to September 2015.

Ten Children's Teams have now been established; the latest being Counties Manukau. As of 30 September 2016, 2,977 children had been referred to the ten Children's Teams (2,433 were accepted) and 190 children had successfully exited with a transition plan.

Under the Community Investment Strategy, government continues to work on ensuring that funding is aligned to priority investment areas, is well-targeted, and based on evidence of effectiveness. Some funding has already been reprioritised to better support vulnerable children. For example, the reprioritisation of funding to expand Family Start from October 2016. This has resulted in four new Family Start sites being established in Timaru/Ashburton, Taranaki, Tauranga and Manawatu.

In March 2016, the Government agreed to establish a transformational new operating model for vulnerable children and young people. The new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki will be operational from April 2017 and will provide a single point of accountability for preventing child maltreatment and improving life outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.

Figure 1: The number of children who experienced substantiated physical abuse in the 12 months to 30 September 2015.

You can see the datasets at data.govt.nz.

Case Studies Result 4

What are we doing to achieve these results?

The Government released the White Paper for Vulnerable Children in October 2012 with the Children's Action Plan. Legislation to protect vulnerable children, which was passed in June 2014, made significant changes to protect vulnerable children and help them thrive, achieve and belong. The Children’s Action Plan is being implemented by a group of government agencies collectively charged with putting those changes into effect, fostering a safe and competent workforce and establishing the Children’s Teams. Learn more http://childrensactionplan.govt.nz/

The Supporting Vulnerable Children Results Action Plan outlines how agencies will work together on three results to support vulnerable children. It includes specific actions to increase participation in early childhood education, increase infant immunisation rates, decrease incidences of rheumatic fever and reduce the number of assaults on children. In addition, it identifies a group of common actions for agencies to progress. These are:

  • better information sharing to identify and understand who our vulnerable children are and how we can help them
  • better targeted and integrated services
  • ensuring that government funding gets results
  • working together better at the frontline.

The Ministry of Social Development's Supporting Vulnerable Children Results Action Plan goes through how we're achieving these results.

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