Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy Annual Report (2021/2022)

The 2021/22 Annual Report is the second statutory report under the Children’s Amendment Act 2018 legislation. A voluntary Annual Report for the 2019/20 year was published, which established baseline data for 21 of the Strategy’s 36 child and youth wellbeing indicators.

The Annual Report details progress towards achieving the outcomes, as measured against the Strategy's indicators. It includes specific information on outcomes for Māori and Pacific children and young people, and for other population groups where data is available.  It also includes progress updates on key actions in the Strategy’s Programme of Action.

Key points of the 2021/22 Annual Report include:

  • The Child and Youth Wellbeing Indicators show that the majority of children and young people continue to do well across most outcome areas.
  • However, disparities persist for many groups, in particular Māori, Pacific, rainbow and disabled children and young people, and those from ethnic communities. Many of these disparities reflect the long-term impacts of racism, discrimination and unequal distribution of resources.
  • The Government has introduced a range of targeted initiatives to address these inequities in outcomes, which are highlighted in the report.
  • The pandemic and the global cost of living pressures continue to present significant challenges to the wellbeing of children and young people, their whānau and communities.  For some children and young people, the impacts are likely to be extensive and long-lasting.
  • In particular, the pandemic may have exacerbated the increase in mental distress rates among children and young people, which have been increasing since the early 2010s. There has been a statistically significant increase in mental distress among young people, aged 15-24 years) since 2019/20.
  • Similarly, school attendance, which has shown an overall decreasing trend since 2015, was further impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Annual Report draws on the 2021/22 Child Poverty stats published last month, which showed that all nine measures of child poverty have reduced, with eight out of nine of the child poverty measures statistically significantly lower than the 2017/18 baseline year. Last year, there were only five measures that had moved a statistically significant amount.
  • The Report highlights some of the actions the government has taken to help protect households from the negative economic impacts of COVID and global cost of living pressures, as well as the more enduring changes implemented to fight poverty and improve wellbeing.

The Annual Report presents wellbeing data collated from 17 collections across eight government agencies for the 2021/22 financial year, including administrative and survey data. Where data is not available for the 2020/21 financial year, the most recently available data is presented.

For the first time, this year’s Annual Report features the findings from the Youth Health and Wellbeing Survey, ‘What About Me?’, along with quotes from children and young people themselves, giving us a much richer insight into their lived experiences. Supplementary data sources have been used in some instances, to provide further insight into how children and young people are doing.

The Monitoring of Strategy Implementation Report will be released in coming weeks on our website. It provides further detail about key activity carried out in 2022 (Jan - Dec) to bring the Strategy into effect.

Read the Minister's media release

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