‘At risk’ children should be identified before birth – study

OneNews 21 July 2014
Information gathered during pregnancy checks should be used to identify “at risk” or “vulnerable” children before they are born and determine the level of support a family should receive, child development researchers say.

The authors of the Growing Up in New Zealand study have identified 12 family and environmental prenatal factors they say increase the chance of children having poor developmental outcomes.

The factors include teenage pregnancy, poor maternal health, the mother’s relationship status and financial stress.

Identified risk factors
1. Teenage pregnancy
2. Mother with no formal secondary school qualifications
3. Maternal depression
4. Poor maternal physical wellbeing in late pregnancy
5. Mother smoking regularly/daily during and after pregnancy
6. Mother with no current partner
7. Reporting highly stressful money problems
8. Living in a decile 9 or 10 NZDep 2006 area
9. Mother actively seeking work but not currently working
10. Living in public rental accommodation
11. Having two or more persons on average per bedroom
12. Being in receipt of an income tested government benefit