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Youth apprehensions decrease attributed to initatives

Media Release: Thursday 5 June


Youth apprehensions decrease attributed to Social Sector Trial initiatives

Police youth apprehensions in Horowhenua continue to decrease and it is being attributed to a united effort throughout the community.

Last year there were 258 apprehensions of youth aged from 12 to 17-years-old, compared with 343 the year before - a 25 percent decrease.

In the two months of January and February this year there was a 57 percent reduction in youth apprehensions, compared to the same period in 2012.

The Social Sector Trial (SST), launched in Horowhenua in 2011 and coordinated by Life to the Max Horowhenua, has enabled the community to redevelop the way that social services are delivered locally and encourage cross-agency collaboration.

Life to the Max board chairperson and Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy says with local agencies, organisations and ministries all working cohesively, it enables greater awareness and understanding, information sharing and data collection.

"From this there has been a multitude of positive flow-on effects and some truly positive results are emerging."

Mayor Duffy says the decrease in youth apprehensions can be linked to an increase in school attendance and a huge range of innovative initiatives aimed to engage youth in positive activities.

The closure rate for non-enrolled student notifications in the district has increased from 21 percent in 2011 to 91 percent in 2013.

"What this means is that 91% of the non-enrolled student notifications reported by local schools to the Attendance Service during 2013, were successfully closed," he said.

"The young people were provided with support and the opportunity to return to mainstream education or transition onto further education or training, assisted by the team at Life to the Max."

The Social Sector Trial has also resulted in improved readily-accessible health care, as well as greater provision of alcohol and other drug counseling services for young people.

HLC now hosts the Youth One Stop Shop (YOSS) Clinic providing free doctor and nurse services for 12 – 24 year olds, as well as school-based clinics at both Horowhenua and Manawatu Colleges. At Waiopehu College there is the district's Teen Parenting Unit – He Whare Manaaki Tangata - and the Blake House medical facility.

Whaioro Trust has been able to employ a second full-time Youth Alcohol and Other Drug counsellor, providing youth with faster access to one-to-one counselling. The Trust also provides group education at schools to raise awareness and address the harm that alcohol and other drugs may have.

In addition, the Social Sector Trial has initiated school holiday programmes such as dance, information technology, and fishing. Life to the Max staff have also collaborated with various community organisations to help organise community events including the Nua Children’s Day event, Dad’s Day Out and Pasifika Youth Jandal Jam.

"These are all designed to ensure that young people in our community have the opportunity to engage in positive activities, to try new things and to create positive mentoring opportunities while developing their skills in leadership and resiliency," Mayor Duffy said.

ENDS

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