Families Commission Research Could Do Better

Family First NZ says that the criticism of the Families Commission research by Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett is justified.

Family First has released a list of research and the numbers of participants in the research done by the Families Commission over the past 12 months that they believe would be the subject of the Minister’s criticism.

They include:
• Mar 09 – “Sent home: impact on the family of a child’s exclusion from school” 40 pages, 8 kids
• Mar 09 – “SETTLING IN: parent-adolescent family dynamics in the acculturation process” 44 pages, 39 parents and children
• May 09 – “Finding time: Parents’ long working hours and the impact on family life” 100 pages, 17 families
• June 09 – “Pathways through parental separation” 30 pages, 20 fathers in 2 focus group sessions
• Aug 09 – “We’re a family”: A study of how lesbians and gay men are creating and maintaining family in New Zealand” 50 pages, 19 families
• Oct 09 – “Living with chronic illness” 28 pages, 24 families, 4 health workers
• Nov 09 – “Heart and head: explanation of the meaning of fatherhood” 32 pages, 22 fathers by phone
• Nov 09 – “Pacific families now and in the future” 46 pages, 20 young people and an extended family
• Dec 09 – “Escaping the debt trap” 116 pages, 40 families, 7-10 budget advisers

“In fairness, there have been some excellent publications including “Supporting kiwi dads”, released in December 2009 and based on quantitative research commissioned through a polling company,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “However, the majority of research has fallen short of being thorough enough to truly represent the voice of families – a shortcoming even acknowledged in the research itself.”

“If we are going to have a Families Commission, we should use it as a central point for co-ordinating and funding substantive and quality research into key issues affecting NZ families.”

“Family First’s recent quantitative research on parental notification, broadcasting standards, childcare, and the anti-smacking law has been more constructive in terms of being a voice for the concerns of NZ families,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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