27 August 2018

Characteristics of children at greater risk of poor outcomes as adults

This paper uses integrated administrative data from New Zealand to identify and describe the characteristics of children who are at higher risk of poor long-term outcomes, including poor school attainment, long-term benefit receipt, and contact with the justice system. A small number of key characteristics observed in the agency’s administrative data are highly correlated with poorer outcomes as young adults. These were: having a finding of abuse or neglect, or having spent time in the care of child protection services; having spent most of their lifetime supported by benefits; having a parent who has received a community or custodial sentence; and having a mother who has no formal qualifications. Children with these characteristics were more likely to have poorer educational attainment, to be long-term welfare recipients, and to serve custodial sentences.