Two girls eating oranges.

Vulnerable Children - Can administrative data be used to identify children at risk of adverse outcomes?

Ministry of Social Development commissioned the University of Auckland’s to consider how predictive modelling could be used to target early intervention to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect, and improve outcomes for children and young people.

The University of Auckland’s research developed a predictive risk model for children in a cohort who had contact with the benefit system before age two. These children accounted for 83% of all children in for whom findings of substantiated maltreatment were recorded by age 5.

This research indicates that predicting risk modelling had a fair, approaching good, power in predicting which of the young children having contact with the benefit system would be the subject of substantiated maltreatment by age five. This is similar to the predictive strength of mammograms for detecting breast cancer in the general population.

This report provides further detail on the predictive risk modelling system outlined in the White Paper for Vulnerable Children. The research indicates that bringing together administrative data can significantly improve the identification of at-risk children by linking Ministry of Social Development (MSD) benefit, care and protection and youth justice data.