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Keeping The Next Generation Of Kids Out Of Jail

19 June 2002

“Getting teenage parents back to school and helping them to be good parents is key to preventing crime tomorrow,” says Corrections Minister Matt Robson.

He met with Susan Baragwanath this afternoon to discuss the new premises for the He Huarahi Tamariki Schooling Unit for Teenage Parents.

Funding from the government, plus donations, is allowing the school to relocate to better premises which will be constructed on a former playing field at Linden School in Tawa.

The present facilities on the Cannons Creek School site will remain to be used as an early learning centre for local children.

“I believe we can intervene at any stage of the life of an offender, from birth onwards. I know some find that controversial, but I am encouraged that schools like this have not been afraid to face that challenge,” says Matt Robson.

“My About Time report on reducing crime, released last year, concludes that the best way to reduce crime is to intervene before people start out on a life of crime.

“Early intervention costs less and works best – the earlier the better. That is why this year’s budget prioritised early intervention. For example $12 million dollars will go towards setting up Day Reporting Centres for teens in trouble.

“About Time identifies teenage parents and their children as a high-risk group likely to go on to develop anti-social behaviour if we do nothing.

“I don’t want to punish teenage mums, I want to give them the skills to be good mothers and the confidence to develop their own lives.

“Schools like this play a vital role in giving teenage parents an education and a new direction in life, and I commend the work of all involved.

“These teenagers move from dependence and disadvantage to independence and advantage – and so do their kids. That means a safer tomorrow for us all,” says Matt Robson.

Ends

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