The ongoing impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes are disproportionately impacting children from low-income families, with health problems and family violence on the rise, a new report says.

The paper released today by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), supported by the Canterbury & West Coast branch of the Public Health Association (PHA), shows children's health and wellbeing have been significantly affected by the quakes and long-term issues are now emerging.

And it says Christchurch children are missing out on the conditions they need to grow into healthy adults.

"International research has shown that vulnerable groups in a community are the most affected by natural disasters. Christchurch has been no exception," says CPAG spokeswoman Sara Epperson.


In the first three months of last year, the Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Service had twice the number of emergency incidents than normal.

The paper reveals major changes to the school environment in Christchurch over this period have also contributed to family stress.

Also, the condition and availability of the city's rental housing has impacted heavily on low-income families, causing great stress for children.

"Children's recovery from a traumatic event is greatly helped if they are in secure, safe housing and if their school is able to provide a stable and familiar environment," PHA Canterbury and West Coast Branch chair Rachel Eyre said.

"Some people might think the earthquake impacts are diminishing.

"But for children living in more damaged communities, the disruption of school changes and lack of a permanent place to live continues to undermine their recovery."

The complete background paper is available at