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Budget 2004 More funding for Youth Offending Teams

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Justice

18 May 2004

Budget 2004 More funding for Youth Offending Teams

The government is to spend $381,000 over the next two years to support the work of Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) in reducing youth crime, Justice Minister Phil Goff announced today.

Thirty YOTs have been established nationwide over the last two years as part of the government's Youth Offending Strategy. Each team brings together Police, Child, Youth and Family, Health and Education staff to co-ordinate responses to local youth offending problems.

"Funding in this year's budget will help YOTs provide the leadership to unite government agencies and local communities in tackling youth crime,” Mr Goff told the national Youth Justice Conference in Wellington today.

"Government efforts to tackle crime have already seen record resources committed to policing, and new sentencing laws which are seeing longer sentences for serious offenders. As a result crime resolution rates are the best they have been since 1987 and the crime rate is 13.8% lower than in 1996.

"But to bring crime down in the long term, early intervention and reducing youth offending is a government priority. We recognise that the best mechanism for achieving that is inter-agency coordination, and YOTs are the best way to ensure meaningful coordination occurs at a local level.

"The funding will help each YOT address its specific needs, and to focus on actions with greater long-term impact and benefit for its local community.

"Specific resources, such as software, will be developed to help them gather and analyse local youth justice data to gain a better understanding of local problems. Assistance will also be made available, where required, to identify the most effective responses to those problems.

"The funding will also pay for the sharing of 'best practice' information, and training for those that need it on how to draw up annual and strategic plans. In some regions where co-ordination needs improving, practice audits will be funded to identify how agencies can work together more effectively.

“I have been impressed by the commitment and innovation shown by Youth Offending Teams, such as the one I recently visited in Whangarei.

"That YOT has analysed what was working well in their area and what was not. They used the information to find creative and practical solutions, including redeveloping existing services to better meet the needs of young offenders subject to Youth Court orders or Family Group Conference plans.

"They have also worked effectively alongside school principals to get chronic truants back to school.

"That sort of collaborative, practical approach, based on local evidence and ideas, is what YOTs were set up to do. This new funding will ensure all YOTs have the capacity to tackle local youth offending problems, and make their local communities safer and stronger," Mr Goff said.

ENDS


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