Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Living in poverty effects children’s development from start

A new analysis of Growing Up in New Zealand (GUINZ) data released today contains some “disturbing and challenging findings”, according to the Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft.

Babies who experience poverty and hardship in the first year of life are at greater risk of later emotional and behavioural problems than babies living in better material circumstances.

The new report identified a difference in babies' temperaments, strongly associated with their living conditions at nine months. This is particularly significant because other research indicates that negative emotions and behaviour as a baby, such as being unsettled or angry, are associated with problems later in childhood, including hyperactivity, anxiety and depression, and conduct problems.

“In fact the report tells us that babies, whose mothers reported high levels of material hardship when their children were around nine months old, had almost triple the risk of negative emotions and behaviour than babies who didn’t live in hardship,” says Commissioner Becroft.

"We already knew that living in poverty sets children up for poor physical health, such as respiratory problems. But this research tells us it affects their social, emotional and behavioural foundations as well, and from the earliest months".

“This data shows us clearly that the tentacles of poverty and material disadvantage reach into many areas and aspects of an infant’s life. Living in poverty with a baby has profound negative effects for mothers and their children. The worse the poverty, the worse the impact. It’s vital that we recognise the wide-ranging effects child poverty has.

“That’s why the Child Poverty Reduction legislation is of such crucial importance. Reducing material hardship and poverty for families with children should have flow on effects that benefit child, mother, and the community as a whole” says Judge Becroft.

“We know the first three years of life are a crucial foundation where both positive and negative development starts. These findings show that we need to be supporting young families better, right from the beginning.”

Judge Becroft looks forwards to more analyses of the GUINZ data. The babies whose experiences were analysed in this report are now eight years old. “How these children have fared in the past seven years is something we can learn from” he says.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

PM Announces Royal Commission Into Christchurch Attacks

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that there will be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into security agencies following the Christchurch terrorist attacks... The inquiry will look at what could or should have been done to prevent the attack, Ms Ardern said. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ridding The Net Of White Supremacist Propaganda

Although it won’t be a walk in the park, gun law reform will be an easier job than neutralising the Internet hate content that (a) recruited the Christchurch shooter, and (b) confirmed him in his beliefs. More>>

Friday: National Remembrance Service

A National Remembrance Service for the victims of the Christchurch mosques terrorist attack, and all those affected by it, will be held at 10am on Friday 29 March, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced. More>>

For the Latest: Scoop Search - Christchurch

Gordon Campbell: On The School Climate Strike

Locally, the school strike has won a ton of support for bringing climate change to the fore. Yet the strikers don't want mere expressions of support. They want action. More>>


"Grabbed And Struck In The Face": Greens Co-Leader Attacked While Walking To Work

Green Party co-leader James Shaw was the victim of an unprovoked attack when he was walking to work in Wellington. More>>


████████ ████ ███: Latest OIA Statistics Released

The latest statistics cover 110 agencies that collectively completed 18,106 official information requests between July and December 2018, a 16.4% increase on the 15,551 requests for the previous six months. More>>


'Hit And Run' Inquiry: New Legal Action Over Secrecy

The lawyer representing the Afghan villagers in the inquiry into Operation Burnham has launched legal proceedings calling for a judicial review in the investigation. More>>


From Hydro Plan To...: Mokihinui River Land To Join Kahurangi National Park

A total of 64,400 hectares of conservation land in the Mokihinui River catchment on the West Coast north of Westport, including 15 km of riverbed, is being added to Kahurangi National Park. “Adding this area, roughly half the size of Auckland City, to Kahurangi is the largest addition of land to an existing national park in New Zealand’s history,” Eugenie Sage said. More>>





InfoPages News Channels