Factors associated with disparities experienced by tamariki Māori

Published: July 28, 2020 · Updated: July 28, 2020

While Māori over-representation in the care and protection system has been known for some time, this analysis demonstrates the extent to which demographic, socioeconomic, and parent/child characteristics influence this.

Background

This report is an initial quantitative exploration of disparities for tamariki Māori in the care and protection system, intended to generate further discussion and analysis. Two key questions are investigated:

  • Is there an impact on the measure of disparity between tamariki Māori and ‘NZ European and Other’ ethnicities when considering the influence of other socioeconomic and parent/child characteristics?
  • Considering ethnicity without the influence of other socioeconomic and parent/child characteristics, are tamariki Māori more likely to enter and progress through the care and protection system compared to children of ‘NZ European and Other’ ethnicities?

Key findings

There are disparities between the movement of tamariki Māori and children of ‘New Zealand European and Other’ ethnicities through the care and protection system. Māori are more likely than ‘New Zealand European and Other’ ethnicities to be involved in first reports of concern and first time movements through most stages of the care and protection system.

However, the differences between Māori and children of ‘NZ European and Other’ ethnicities are less when socioeconomic and other factors (eg, parental income, socioeconomic decile, parental Corrections involvement, school disengagement, mental health provider contact) are controlled for.

This work establishes a base for further discussions, analysis and exploration in areas such as:

  • Identifying specific areas of focus for case note analysis
  • Gathering input from the wider business around potential drivers for disparity (including input from practice experts)
  • How we think about and measure disparity and disproportionality
  • Refining understanding of the relationships between ethnicity and other socioeconomic variables that have a relationship with ethnicity, to better understand the impact of disparity (from both a perspective of “systemic” and “discretionary” biasing factors).