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Council to help keep young people out of trouble

Council to help keep young people out of trouble

A pilot project aimed at keeping young people out of trouble has been launched in North Shore City.

The North Shore City Council is working with the Crime Prevention Unit of the Ministry of Justice on a "safer city project". It has just signed a contract with the Ministry for funding which will enable a pilot project to prevent youth reoffending in the western part of the city.

A significant number of community and government agencies concerned with the welfare of young people are involved in developing the programme and its implementation. The programme focuses on those under the age of 17 years who have more than one risk factor that could be the catalyst for re-offending and where current interventions have failed.

Some risk factors include:

* Having few social ties

* Family problems

* Truancy and self management

* Abusing drugs or alcohol

* Experiencing barriers to treatment of their problems.

The pilot responds to the 2002 Government Youth Strategy and promotes a high level of inter-agency co-operation and collaboration to comprehensively address the needs of young people at risk of re-offending.

The council's community services and parks committee chairperson, Margaret Miles, says there is a need to work co-operatively to provide a range of community and social services and resources aimed at helping young people stay out of trouble.

"The price of failure is too high," Councillor Miles says.

"We're seeing the results too often when young people run off the rails because of a range of factors such as low self esteem, binge drinking, truancy, or a lack of suitable venues for social events. The cost is in a host of anti-social crimes from burglary and graffiti to serious road accidents.

"The council is sponsoring the Safer City Project that seeks to encourage the development of new programmes that will have a significant impact in reducing crime within the city and which require a community involvement. The project complements other council strategies and resources such as those provided through our grants programme, recreational and community facilities and special youth events.

"This is a pilot only at this stage - but we're confident it can make a difference and help our young people at what can be a difficult time in their lives," Councillor Miles says.

The North Shore Safer City Project has allocated $50,000 to the Youth Offending Prevention Pilot, which is also funded by the other participating agencies. A committee established by community co-ordinator Jill Nerheny, comprising a variety of community agencies, will oversee the programme.

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