NZ Herald 30 August 2016
The way we look at the “picket fence” family life that underpins New Zealand’s social policies does not match the reality of many young people’s lives, new research shows.
Only a quarter of teenagers in an internationally respected study were living with their biological parents at age 15.
The University of Otago research is based on life histories of 209 15-year-olds taken between 2007 and 2012 who are children of members of the Dunedin Study.
The research found many young people had complex and dynamic whanau/family arrangements. The researchers found that most of the teenagers had experienced multiple changes in household composition, and just 26 per cent were living with both their biological parents at 15.
Participants experienced up to eight changes in care arrangements by that age. Fewer than 7 per cent had lived their whole lives in households made up of only their mother, father and siblings.
More than half the children, 63 per cent, had been cared for by two parents at birth. But by age 15, 59 per cent were either in sole parent or some form of multiple-resident care, including shared arrangements between parents in different households.
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