Initiative to help Northland’s most at-risk kids

  • Hekia Parata

Education Minister Hekia Parata today launched a new initiative that will bring social service agencies and communities together to support young people in Northland at risk of poor outcomes.

Kainga Ora is a new Place-Based Initiative that will bring government agencies, NGOs, iwi, and community leaders together to support programmes that will have a positive impact on young Northlanders.

“With Kainga Ora we have an opportunity to improve outcomes for the children, young people and families of Northland,” says Ms Parata, who is the lead Minister for this cross-government initiative.

“Kainga Ora takes a social investment approach to Northland. It will focus on supporting local agency leaders to build on what is already working well, and power up their ability to provide integrated responses to 0-24 year olds who are at very high risk of poor outcomes, as well as their families and whanau. To make changes that will work in this region, we need input, ideas and support from our communities. And we need a focus on real results for these young people.

“The Northland region has been identified as an area with a high proportion of its younger population at risk of poor outcomes – about 12 per cent.”

In its first year Kainga Ora is expected to deliver integrated services to 570 children, young people and their whānau. It builds on the work of the Northland Social Wellbeing Governance Group, an interagency group made up of local social sector leaders, including iwi. It was formed in 2013 to respond to the challenges facing vulnerable children, youth and families in Northland.

Kainga Ora will partner with communities to shift at risk behaviour patterns, and build communities that are capable, resilient and can help themselves. It will also work with the community to co-design responses for at risk groups and ensure we are investing wisely in what will work to support them and the Northland community and be self-sustainable over time.