As part of its family dynamics/family effectiveness research programme, the Ministry of Social Development commissioned research in 2000 to explore the views of families, young people and service providers on what constitute ‘good outcomes’ for young people. Good outcomes in this context include outcomes in the areas of education, employment, financial independence, living circumstances, relationships, interests and community involvement, qualities and values.
The Ministry of Social Development’s organising framework for the various aspects of the family dynamics research programme recognises that the community, social, economic, institutional and policy environments have a direct impact both on family ynamics and on outcomes for children. Children’s personal endowments and capacities also affect their outcomes.
The objectives for this research on good outcomes for young people were threefold:
- to investigate the views of New Zealand families, children and providers about that constitute good outcomes for children, and the plans they have to achieve these outcomes
- to investigate the views of New Zealand families and children and providers about what factors they consider promote good outcomes for children
- to describe any differences in the views of families, children and providers about good outcomes for children and to determine whether these views vary across different cultural groups or other groups within the sample.
The research comprised three linked studies: Māori, Pākehā and Pacific. The three components were designed collaboratively, then conducted and analysed separately. In this summary, as in the report, the findings of the three studies are reported separately, while the introduction, methodology and discussion sections relate to all three.
The research consisted of 60 in-depth interviews with parents, caregivers and whānau of young people between the ages of 7 and 18 years, and 57 interviews with young people. The family/whānau sample consisted of 22 Māori families, 20 Pākehā families and 18 Pacific families. In almost all cases, in-depth interviews were conducted separately with the young people from each of the families. In addition 29 providers of social services to families and young people were interviewed for the research: 12 providers for the Māori study, 10 Pākehā providers, and 7 Pacific providers. The interviews were conducted during the second half of 2000.
A semi-structured interview schedule was designed collaboratively by the primary researchers for each study, and then adapted slightly for each one. The interviews sought respondents’ views on good outcomes for young people at the ages of 18 and 25, as well as asking about the key supports young people need to achieve good outcomes. The ages of 18 and 25 were chosen carefully. By 18, most young people are in their last year of school or have recently left and are looking ahead to further training, education or work. Their maturity is officially recognised in the voting and drinking laws; they are entitled to undertake contracts, to engage in military service and are eligible for a range of benefit entitlements. By 25, most young people have finished their post-school training or education and are moving into full-time employment and taking on more adult responsibilities.
The sampling strategy was maximum variation sampling based on a range of characteristics of interest to the Ministry of Social Development. In each study the sample was obtained through personal networks, using a predetermined matrix to ensure that the sample included a range of family types, at different life cycle stages, from different socio-economic backgrounds and in different locations. Sample selection in each of the three studies varied slightly, although all three met the requirements of the sample matrix. Details of the sample characteristics are provided in Appendix 1.