New obligations for youth

  • Paula Bennett
Youth Affairs Social Development

Today marks the start of comprehensive Youth Services for disengaged young people says Social Development Minister Paula Bennett.

More than $148 million in wrap around support services will help young people on benefit and those at risk of going onto benefit, to be independent.

“Youth Services start from today, but will be transitioned in over time as each individual is matched with a service provider,” says Mrs Bennett.

From today 43 community organisations will begin providing Youth Services, which will be offered to around 17,000 young people at full implementation.

For young people currently on benefit, nothing will change aside from the name of their benefit until they transition to a provider.

“Work and Income has kept young people up to speed with these changes through letters, face to face contact and phone calls,” says Mrs Bennett.

“Youth Service providers will be contacting the individuals they will be working with directly to answer any further questions about these changes and begin the process of helping our at risk teens get back on track.”

The new Youth Services are for 16 and 17 year olds and 16-18 year old teen parents on benefit and will also target up to 14,000 teenagers aged 16-17 who are not in education, employment, or training.

The key components to the services along with mentoring and support are an unwavering emphasis on education and training, as well as budgeting courses and for those with children; parenting courses.

“We’ve created incentives for young people to stick to their obligations, so they can earn $10 a week if they complete a budgeting or parenting course or stay in education and training for an expected period,” says Mrs Bennett.

Each provider has been assigned a geographical area to work within and a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministries of Social Development and Education will allow information sharing to identify and contact young school leavers who will benefit from the service.

A full list of the 43 new youth service providers is available at: