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Youth Offending Strategy’s application studied

27 August 2002 Media Statement

Youth Offending Strategy’s application studied

Social service and justice agencies are to review the way recent high profile youth offenders were dealt with to see what improvements can be suggested for future practice, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said this afternoon.

The Government is making important changes to the way youth offenders and potential young offenders are handled with the implementation of the Youth Offending Strategy, launched in April. New funding worth $20m was provided in the May Budget for programmes and initiatives in line with the strategy.

Steve Maharey said he had received an initial report from Child, Youth and Family on how it had dealt with the young people involved in the Michael Choy case. Following discussions with Justice Minister Phil Goff, who has overall responsibility for the implementation of the Youth Offending Strategy, Ministers have asked the ministries of Social Development and Justice, and Child, Youth and Family, to look back over dealings with the convicted offenders and to advise on whether any improvements can be made for the future.

“Recent high profile cases have legitimately caused concern amongst New Zealanders and we think the government should look at how those cases were handled and what could be done better in the future. The Youth Offending Strategy gives agencies new tools to use and it is important for us to learn from this tragic case how they should be put to best use for the future.

“I have also asked Child, Youth and Family to report to me on how it plans to handle youth justice placements in the immediate future while new secure residences are built in South Auckland and Canterbury,” Steve Maharey said.

Steve Maharey said the government also plans to work very hard on parenting and family issues in the coming three years.

“Better support to be an effective parent is the fence we need to build at the top of the cliff to prevent young people turning to crime in the first place.

“During the campaign Labour pledged to establish a Parenting Council and since the election we have been working with United Future on plans to establish a Commission for the Family.

“These are the essential next steps we must take as a nation if we are to curb youth offending. Young people need good parenting if they are going to grow up to be dependable adults,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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