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CYF youth justice plan released

30 April 2002

Reducing the rate and severity of child and youth re-offending is the goal of Child, Youth and Family’s Youth Justice Plan formally released today.

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said Child, Youth and Family (CYF) shares responsibility with other agencies for dealing with young offenders in contact with the Youth Justice system.

“This Plan details how Child, Youth and Family will implement the Government’s Youth Offending Strategy released last week.

“Child, Youth and Family will work towards achieving the Plan’s goal by concentrating on seven priority areas:

- delivering a quality restorative and justice focused system that is timely and well monitored;

- delivering youth justice services that achieve positive outcomes for participants;

- improving CYF relationships, initially with Police, but in the short-term this will be extended to a wide range of agencies and communities;

- reducing the over-representation of Maori and other groups in the youth justice system by building internal and external capability;

- providing the most appropriate intervention to each child and youth offender;

- intervening earlier with child offenders committing serious offences; and,

- improving participation of victims and family/ whanau at Family Group Conferences.

“The government is very determined to operate an efficient restorative justice process and intervene appropriately with child offenders. CYF has a range of recognised strengths in the youth justice area and this plan will enable it to do even better.

“A number of other improvements have also been achieved in Youth Justice practice, including:

- six new regional managers for FGC co-ordinators are supporting and monitoring the work of Youth Justice Co-ordinators (YJCs) - the department is committed to increasing its management focus on youth justice issues and performance;

- more training for Youth Justice Coordinators (YJCs); and,

- closer contact between YJCs and judges is being promoted.

“Over the next six to nine months the department intends:

- increasing the participation of victims and family/whanau in FGCs;

- having greater involvement of Maori and iwi in Youth Justice planning; and,

- ensuring closer monitoring of FGC plans to assist with holding young offenders accountable for their offending.

“Heavy emphasis will be placed on early intervention with 10 to 13 year olds to reduce the chances that they will become serious adult offenders - collaboration with Police and community-based Youth Justice providers will be crucial to this work. Early and appropriate interventions contribute to reducing the likelihood that serious child offenders will become serious adult offenders,” Steve Maharey said.

“Working closely with community agencies helping at-risk children and young people will also be crucial to achieving better results. There’s some great work being done by a whole range of organisations. We want to help strengthen their capacity and programme development,” Steve Maharey said.

The CYF Youth Justice Plan is available on the Department’s internet site at www.cyf.govt.nz.

Ends


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