Kaiārahi Ritenga Waitohu

4. Introduction

Te Puni Kōkiri commissioned qualitative research to inform future reviews of the out of school services. These services are a key component of ensuring that families have better access to quality, affordable and age appropriate out of school services for their school age children.

To participate in the workforce, Māori with caring responsibilities for children from ages five to 13 years need care and support for their children before or after school or during the school holidays. They also need to know that the out of school services can meet and accommodate their different employment circumstances. The same applies to Māori who are furthering their education or are in training or simply want their children to socialise with others. For all, they want choice and they want quality. They want out of school services where they know that their children will be well looked after during these times.

The purpose of the research is to find out how the out of school service sector is working for Māori and to explore what is important to them in accessing out of school services for their children and the choices that they have available to them when doing so. It also looks at opportunities and challenges and explores what improvements are necessary to meet and continue to meet Māori needs and priorities for this sector.

The research has focused on Māori with caring responsibilities for children who:

  1. Are between the ages of five and 13 years
  2. Attend out of school services before and after school and/or during the school holidays
  3. Attend out of school services either 7 through service providers who have OSCAR approved programmes, private service providers who run their own programmes or are cared by whānau members or others out of school
  4. Live in a range of locations which include rural, provincial towns, cities and urban areas.

It is informed by many diverse voices. Fifty individual interviews and 13 focus groups were conducted throughout New Zealand between June and August 2008. As well as parents, caregivers and whānau members, research participants also included a wide mix of service providers who have experience in providing out of school services to Māori. This has helped to gain an understanding of those services provided to Māori and to gauge the extent to which their needs and priorities are being met. The research also focused on whānau and others who care for children during out of school time.

The majority of service providers interviewed are those who are Child, Youth and Family approved and operate OSCAR programmes. They access OSCAR funding and their parents and caregivers are able to apply for Work and Income subsides. Other service providers work independently, outside this framework and do not access these funding streams and subsidies.

With a specific focus on Māori, this research expands the pool of information about out of school services and complements earlier research:

  • Work, Family and Parenting Study: Research Findings (Ministry of Social Development, April 2006)
  • When school’s out – conversations with parents, carers and children about out of school services: (Families Commission, February 2007)
  • Out of School Services: Child and Family Outcomes, A Literature Review: (Ministry of Women’s Affairs, March 2007).

Collectively all research provides a solid basis to inform government advice and to contribute to the policy development process that will support future reviews of the out of school services sector.

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