Improving outcomes for children with a parent in prison

3 June 2015

Today Superu released a new research publication titled What Works: Improving outcomes for children with a parent in prison.

It is estimated that 20,000 New Zealand children are affected by parental imprisonment. Māori children are much more likely to have a parent in prison compared to non-Māori children.
 
This release shines a light on the wide range of negative impacts that children with a parent in prison experience, including long term poor health, educational and social outcomes, and their own high risk of future imprisonment.
 
Superu Chief Executive, Clare Ward says “In many cases, children with a parent in prison come from families who are living with multiple existing problems, including living in poverty. Parental imprisonment compounds the effects of these existing problems”.
 
“These family risk factors are well documented, and are consistent across multiple generations and in different countries” said Ward.
 
The point at which a parent is imprisoned can help identify children at risk, and be an opportunity to provide effective interventions. What Works: Improving outcomes for children with a parent in prison found that interventions developed for children generally at risk were likely to be effective for children with a parent in prison.
 
“This release illustrates the need for policy that takes a multi-agency approach to improving outcomes for children with a parent in prison” said Ward.
 
“Attention should be turned to effective interventions at the earliest stages as that’s when the child’s outcomes are most likely to be improved, as well as being most cost effective for society as a whole” said Ward.
 
Ward added “Interventions need to be age appropriate and work in the New Zealand context.”
 
Increased government focus for this priority population group will help to address the wider context of New Zealand families with multiple complex problems. This information is provided to help the social sector make better decisions - about funding, policies and services – to improve the lives of families and whānau.
 
For more information please contact: media@superu.govt.nz or call 0299177052.
 
About Superu - The Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (Superu) is the operating name for the Families Commission. Our purpose is to increase the use of evidence by people across the social sector so that they can make better decisions – about funding, policies or services – to improve the lives of families and whānau.

 

Last update: 29 Feb 2016