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Substantial Investment In Children And Families

Substantial Investment In Children And Families

The Minister for Social Development and Employment Ruth Dyson today announced almost $7 million to fund long term research into New Zealand families and children, to begin in 2008.

Cabinet has approved $3.027 million to add to an existing commitment of $3.65 million from the Ministries of Social Development, Health, and Justice, the Families Commission, and the New Zealand Police. The Ministry of Research, Science and Technology earlier provided seed funding to help make the study a reality, bringing the total cross-government investment to $6.7 million.

“This represents a substantial investment by the Labour-led government so we can identify and examine the key social issues that will affect future New Zealanders,” said Ruth Dyson.

The Longitudinal Study will be led by the University of Auckland, which has also contributed funding to the project, and will follow the lives of 7,600 children born in the Auckland and Waikato regions.

The study will help identify opportunities to improve children’s lives by studying parenting behaviours, health and environmental factors, child development, education, nutrition and social interactions.

It will be the first New Zealand longitudinal study to start before the children are born, with mothers being recruited in late pregnancy through their lead maternity carers. The study will then follow the children through to adulthood.

For the first time, this Longitudinal Study will cover the full ethnic diversity of New Zealanders, by involving Māori, Pacific peoples, Asian and Pakeha children and their families.

The study builds on successful studies conducted in Christchurch and Dunedin and updates them for the 21st century.

“Children and families involved in the study will make a major contribution to our understanding of their lives, their needs, their experiences and their aspirations” said Ruth Dyson.

ENDS

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