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5.4  Exploring differences across New Zealand

The extent of service use in specific areas of New Zealand by at-risk children or youth can be easily contrasted against other areas. This may reveal differences in targeting, choices made at a local or national level about provision, or could indicate areas where alternative services are being used. Care needs to be taken in drawing conclusions from the results, but the analysis could present a useful starting point in understanding service gaps. The services currently included in Insights are quite limited, but this will expand over time. Here we look at one educational intervention for children, Reading Recovery, and an employment intervention for youth, Youth Service: NEET.

Use of Reading Recovery by at-risk children

There are two ways we can look at the extent of service use by at-risk children. The first is the proportion of service users who are considered to be at-risk. This allows us to see the extent to which the service is targeted towards risk in some areas relative to others. The second measure is essentially a measure of service coverage, ie, the percent of the at-risk group who have used the service.

Figure 14 maps the use of Reading Recovery services across New Zealand regions for children with two or more childhood risk indicators. Reading Recovery is a literacy intervention targeted at 6 year old children with literacy difficulties. It provides daily one-on-one teaching for children who are making the slowest progress in literacy learning[13].

Figure 14: Distribution of children aged 6 to 14 with 2+ risk indicators using Reading Recovery service in the past 5 years across New Zealand
Figure 14: Distribution of children aged 6 to 14 with 2+ risk indicators using Reading Recovery service in the past 5 years across New Zealand   .

The left-hand map shows the extent to which children accessing Reading Recovery are considered to be at-risk. Not surprisingly, those areas with the greatest proportion of Reading Recovery users being at risk, are the same areas with high numbers of at-risk children, as illustrated in Figure 4. The national average is for 24 percent of Reading Recovery service users to have 2+ risk indicators. This varies from 17 percent in Tasman region (where 9% of children have 2+ risk indicators) to 37 percent in Gisborne region (where 24% of children have 2+ risk indicators).

The right-hand map shows the service coverage for at-risk children - the proportion that have accessed the service. Across New Zealand 13 percent of 6 to 14-year-olds with 2 or more risk indicators had accessed the service in the last 5 years. This varies from 11 percent in the Bay of Plenty and Northland, up to 22 percent in the West Coast region. While this analysis indicates that at-risk children in Northland and the Bay of Plenty are less likely to access Reading Recovery than at-risk children in many other regions, it does not tell us why this is the case. It may be that they are more likely to access alternative services for example.

Use of Youth Service: NEET or Youth Transition Service by at-risk youth

The Youth Service: NEET (YS:NEET) and Youth Transition Service (YTS)[14], which it replaced, offer mentoring services to young people aged 16 or 17 who are not on benefit, and considered to be at risk of becoming NEET. Figure 14 shows the overlap between the use of YS:NEET or YTS and those youth identified as being at risk due to having two or more risk indicators at age 15.

We have established that the presence of these risk indicators at ages 0 to 14 is associated with poor educational and employment outcomes in later years, so we would expect this group to be a target population of particular interest for these services, and to be disproportionately likely to access the services.

Figure 15: Distribution of youth aged 15 to 19 with 2+ risk indicators at age 15 using Youth Service: NEET or Youth Transition Service across New Zealand
Figure 15: Distribution of youth aged 15 to 19 with 2+ risk indicators at age 15 using Youth Service: NEET or Youth Transition Service across New Zealand.

As illustrated in Figure 12, 36% of YS:NEET or YTS service users had 2 or more risk indicators at age 15. This compares to 14 percent of all 15 to 19-year-olds. The left-hand map of Figure 15 illustrates how this varies across New Zealand. In Auckland only 27 percent of service users had two or more risk indicators, while in Manawatu-Wanganui, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne and Northland 46 to 49 percent of service users were considered to be at-risk. The analysis does not tell us why this variation occurs, but it could be that the underlying populations of at-risk young people are different in different regions, or that the targeting of the service is more effective in some regions than others, possibly due to the services in some regions being more tightly rationed.

The right-hand map of Figure 15 shows the coverage of the service for youth with 2 or more risk indicators at age 15. Comparing this with the left-hand map, it's obvious that having a high proportion of service users considered to be at-risk does not necessarily mean that the coverage is high in that region. While almost half of service users in Northland were considered to be at-risk, the region had one of the lowest proportions of at-risk youth who had accessed the service (19 percent). Gisborne region, on the other hand, had both high proportions of at-risk youth in the service (47 percent) and high coverage for at-risk youth (29 percent). It could be that while the service is well targeted in Northland, limits in service availability may result in coverage still being reasonably low.

Notes

  • [13] See https://www.readingrecovery.ac.nz/.
  • [14] The Youth Transition Service was replaced by Youth Service: NEET in July 2012. Both services offered mentoring services to at-risk youth aged 16 or 17. Most of the 15 to 19-year-olds who had accessed these services in the five years to 2015 will have accessed the newer service or both services, but some may have used only Youth Transition Service.
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