Government To Spend Extra $14.5 Million On Youth Services Strategy

  • Roger Sowry
Social Services, Work and Income

The Hon Roger Sowry, Minister of Social Services, Work and Income announced Government has committed an additional $14.5 million over the next two years to the Youth Services Strategy

Mr Sowry made the announcement in his address to the international visitors and delegates to the Youth Justice in Focus Conference being held in Wellington over the next three days.

Mr Sowry said the 8,000 or so young people who come to the attention of the Children, Young Persons and their Families Service (CYPFS) every year because of their offending or offensive behaviour, have needs that cut across all sectors - substance abuse, violence, self-harm, poor educational achievement, abuse, and depression.

"Juvenile offending studies have shown that between 60% to 80% of positive behaviour changes are related to the type of treatment and rehabilitation programmes young offenders receive."

Under the new strategy, by the year 2001 New Zealand will have:

- Assessment tools to identify young people at risk of offending behaviours.
- A further six specialist community based group homes throughout New Zealand.
- Trained specialist caregivers for these homes and for one-to-one respite care programmes.
- A mixture of specialist and structured rehabilitation programmes for up to 1000 young people.

Mr Sowry said these new programmes will not be run by Government, but by community groups including Iwi Social services, Maori providers and non-government agencies.

"What is exciting about this strategy is that it provides a continuum of care and services, and targets not just those who have entered the youth justice system. Time and resources spent now will stop these young people entering our adult criminal justice system and ultimately prison. "