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Case Studies of Social Investment

Page updated 10 Sep 2015

The case studies below are examples of where the social investment approach can be applied.

By bringing together and analysing different types of data we can identify different groups of people who are at risk of poor outcomes, and design effective services to help them.

Helping children at risk of poor outcomes as young adults

A range of factors can be used to help identify groups of people who may need special support from the government.

For example, one per cent of five year olds:

  • are known to Child Youth and Family Services, and
  • have been supported by benefits for more than 40 months, and
  • have a parent who has had contact with Corrections.

This one per cent is around 600 children per year, but over 20 years creates a pipeline of 12,000 at high risk. If we look at an average group of 10 of these five-year-olds:

  • After high school seven would not have NCEA2 (74.6%).
  • By 21 four will have been on a benefit long-term (40%).
  • At 35 a quarter will have been in prison (24%).

In addition to the poor life outcomes for each of these children, there is a substantial cost to the community and society as a whole. On average, each child in this group will cost taxpayers $320,000 by age 35 - some over $1million.

Helping former recipients of unemployment benefits to stay in work

Traditionally governments have focused on getting newly unemployed people back into work, as unemployment is one of the biggest welfare costs.

But analysis of lifetime costs of people who receive a benefit found that one of the most expensive groups is people who have recently returned to work from being on a benefit. This is because they are likely to slip back onto benefits. In any given month, 70 percent of people who sign up for a benefit have been on a benefit before. This indicates that the government needs to do more to help those people stay independent.

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