Children involved with Child, Youth and Family (CYF) are 15 times more likely to commit suicide than other New Zealand children, according to studies.
Between 1994 and 1999 almost half of the 129 children under the age of 17 who killed themselves were in contact with CYF. But the new programme changed all that.
Towards Well-Being, launched in 2002 with the Wellington School of Medicine, has reduced the number of suicides among CYF youths from 15 in the two years before the programme started, to just six in the two years since it began.
And while the number of admissions to hospital for “deliberate self-harm” has increased by 25 per cent for non-CYF young people since 2002, it has stayed the same among CYF young people.
CYF chief social worker Craig Smith said the results are encouraging.