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New Zealand: Children's Issues Centre - University of Otago

The Children’s Issues Centre aims to make a difference in children’s lives by improving policy and practice relating to children, young people and their families/whānau. The Centre serves as an interdisciplinary forum for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and students with an interest in advancing knowledge about children’s development, well-being and rights. The Centre's research, teaching and advocacy is underpinned by its commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and how this is honoured within Aotearoa New Zealand.

Children and young people’s agency, voice and participation are central to the Centre's work. Using a Childhood Studies approach the Children's Issues Centre aims to understand and highlight children and young people’s voices. The Children's Issues Centre is committed to understanding children’s experiences and conducting research that includes and values children and young people’s perspectives on important aspects of their lives - within their families, schools and communities. Central to this are research approaches and methods that enhance children and young people’s participation in research and respect their rights throughout the research process. The Children's Issues Centre has particular expertise in conducting research with children and young people and the methodological and ethical issues related to research involving children and young people.  The Children's Issues Centre was established in 1995. Between 2009-2012 it was known as the Centre for Research on Children and Families, but in 2013 reverted to its original name.


Since the Children’s Issues Centre’s establishment in 1995 it has undertaken high quality research, teaching and advocacy relating to children’s development, well-being and rights. Applied research is one of the Centre’s key activities and it is committed to the dissemination and application of their findings to promote child-centred approaches to policy and practice. It works collaboratively with colleagues at the University of Otago, other tertiary institutions, child/family agencies, government departments and the community both within Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. Using an interdisciplinary approach the Children's Issues Centre's primary roles focus on:

  • Research
  • Publication and research dissemination
  • Postgraduate education
  • Professional development
  • Policy and advocacy 


Example of research projects:

  1. Family Life in a Sociotechnological Landscape
  2. Graduate Longitudinal Study New Zealand
  3. Ethical Research Involving Children – see
  4. Relocation following Parental Separation: The Welfare and Best Interests of Children
  5. Family Court Judges’ Meetings with Children
  6. Strengthening Parenting
  7. Dislocation Following the Christchurch Earthquake: Children and Young People's Experiences


Centre staff have co-led or contributed to the following Childwatch International thematic study groups on Citizenship and Nation Building, Children and the Law, Rural Childhood and Ethical Research Involving Children.


Contact Details:

Children's Issues Centre
University of Otago
PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054
New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 479 5038
Fax: +64 9 479 5039

Network contact: Dr Nicola Taylor
E-mail: nicola.taylor [at]


Tags: Children's rights, Child development, Children and Education, Public policy towards/for children, Children in the legal system, Child participation, Children and Media, Mothers and babies in prison, Young Carers, Children with disabilities, Early childhood, Child research methodology development, Youth issues, Family related issues, Children's well-being
Published July 10, 2008 4:12 PM - Last modified Nov. 6, 2013 1:02 PM