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Action Plan targets needs of South Taranaki youth

Action Plan targets needs of South Taranaki youth

A high level, wide-ranging project to help youth in South Taranaki become more engaged, healthier citizens, reaches another crucial milestone on Friday.

The Action Plan of The South Taranaki Social Sector Trial will be launched as the group tasked with spearheading the Trial maps the way forward.

The Plan outlines 25 initiatives focused on four areas: reducing offending, truancy rates, alcohol and drug use and increasing the number of young people in education, training and employment.

Trial director Melanie Loft of health and social services organistion Tui Ora, says “business as usual” is not an option in the region, and there is genuine recognition that greater collaboration and cooperation is needed.

“This is a fast-moving, transparent and deliverable Trial. We’re aiming to deliver a cohesive model of practice that will set a precedent in the years to come.”

The South Taranaki Social Sector Trial was launched in July and is one of 10 operating around the country over a period of two years. A 19-member advisory group is guiding the Trial, which is being lead by Tui Ora.

Five agencies - police, justice, health, education and social development are involved along with iwi, the south Taranaki District Council and community organisations.

Whanganui MP Chester Borrows, district leaders, youth representatives, iwi and other invited guests, will attend the launch on Friday from 3-4pm at the South Taranaki District Council.

Tui Ora Chief executive Hayden Wano says that being able to take a regional overview puts the Trial in a unique and positive position.

As lead trial provider Tui Ora reports to the joint venture board which itself reports to crown ministers. “Hard questions are being asked in Wellington to ensure resources reach those most in need.”

Statistics in the action plan are sobering. About 10 per cent of young people in the region live in benefit defendant households while youth aged up to 18 are responsible for 20 per cent of all crime.

Initiatives in the action plan are varied - everything from better access to counselling and a new truancy team to driver licensing support and longer opening hours for the Patea pool.

South Taranaki District Mayor Ross Dunlop chairs the advisory group. He says the Trial puts a real focus on the effectiveness of the resources that are going into helping youth.

“There has been some outstanding examples of big improvements in other communities that have been involved in these trials and I look forward to similar outcomes in South Tarankai.

ends

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