This analysis explores the impacts Raising the Age of Care (RAC) had on the outcomes of rangatahi who were eligible to remain in, or return to, placement for an additional year, until the age of 18.
This analysis examines how this change (Raising the Age of Care, or RAC) affected the outcomes of rangatahi, both during that additional year (from ages 17-18), as well as between the ages of 18 and 20.
To assess the impacts of RAC, health, education, justice, and labour market outcomes of rangatahi who were eligible (and likely to be targeted) for an additional year in care were compared with those of rangatahi who had similar characteristics, but from older cohorts who could not remain in care after the age of 17, as well as with rangatahi from a control group.
The analysis found that RAC led to strong reduction in benefit use between the ages of 17 and 20. In addition, the analysis also suggests that RAC led to improvements in gaining level 2 or above educational qualifications by the age of 19. However, the results of the analysis cannot conclusively determine whether the reduction in benefit use resulted from greater participation in education or employment.
Findings by main ethnic group
While strong reductions in benefit use was detected across all ethnic groups between the ages of 17 and 18, this was only sustained between ages 18-20 for Non-Māori or Pacific Peoples (NMP) rangatahi (not identified as Māori or Pacific Peoples, largely European ethnic group). In terms of education, the analysis found improvements in the likelihood of gaining any educational qualifications at ages 18 and 19 among Pacific Peoples or NMP rangatahi, with no such improvements detected for rangatahi Māori. Furthermore, the analysis found reductions in the total income earned from Wages and Salary (W&S) by rangatahi Māori between the ages of 17 and 18. Overall, the findings suggest that the ability to remain in care for an additional year did not deliver benefits to rangatahi Māori to the same extent as for other groups.
While the benefit and education related findings were in line with the anticipated effects of introducing RAC, no improvements in health, employment, teenage pregnancy, or justice related outcomes were detected. On one hand, lack of findings may reflect limitations in the design of this study, available data, and/or relatively short time-horizon examined (outcomes only until the age of 20). On the other hand, it may also be possible that as a stand-alone change, RAC was not sufficient to achieve all these improvements, particularly given the complexity of issues many rangatahi face.