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Action Plan for Counties Manukau and Otahuhu youth

19 September 2006

Action Plan for Counties Manukau and Otahuhu youth

Social Development Minister David Benson-Pope has announced a cross-government Action Plan to improve outcomes for young people and reduce youth offending in Counties Manukau and Otahuhu.

The Auckland Youth Support Network Group has developed the 26-point Action Plan. With representatives from the Ministries of Education, Justice, Social Development, and Police, and the Counties Manukau District Health Board, the Network will work with local groups to implement the plan.

“Counties Manukau has the highest proportion of youth, is one of the fastest- growing regions in population terms, and one of the lowest-income regions in New Zealand. The Plan also, however, includes other 'hotspots' in the Auckland region,” Mr Benson-Pope said.

“It's important to remember that most young people in Counties Manukau are doing really well, and it’s unfair to define this community by the actions of a few.

“Ministry of Social Development research shows a range of factors is driving youth gang membership in South Auckland, including economic, parenting, peer pressure, and disengagement issues. Our responses must involve families and communities, supported by strong social services.

“Young people need to be connected to schools, training and jobs – inactivity and boredom can be triggers for risk taking and criminal behaviour. We need to intervene early to prevent young people getting into trouble, and stop problems that do occur from escalating.

“The introduction of youth workers, while important, is only part of the answer. We need services to work with young people and their families across the full range of issues including schooling, self esteem, parenting, offending, and personal safety,” Mr Benson-Pope said.

Government is investing $10 million over four years (Budget 06) in South Auckland to fund youth workers and wrap around family services. It will be used in conjunction with other government funding to resource the Action Plan’s initiatives for prevention, intervention, and crisis management.

“The Youth Support Network and the community have a significant task ahead of them. This is a comprehensive and ambitious plan that aims to make a real difference to the lives of young people and their families in Counties Manukau and surrounding areas. I'm confident great progress can be achieved if everyone works together, “Mr Benson-Pope said.


What's in the Action Plan

Crisis management
- Establish Youth Action teams
- Increase out-of-hour support by youth workers to Police stations
- Provide facilities for short term placement for at risk youth after hours
- Provide improved centralised police facilities.

Intervention
- Provide Integrated Case Management to 100 young people and families
- Strengthen Youth Offending Teams across Auckland with initial focus on Counties Manukau
- Improve CYF Youth Justice and Family Group Conference services
- Link Police Youth Action Teams with Maori Wardens
- Develop Pacific Wardens and link with Police Youth Action Teams
- Implement Turn-Your-Life-Around (TYLA) programme in Counties Manukau
- Improve interventions for youth offenders, including reviewing the Genesis and the Male Youth New Directions (MYND) programmes in Counties Manukau
- Implement the NZ Police Alcohol Action Plan across Auckland
- Evaluate provision of drug and alcohol rehabilitation services for youth in Counties and Manukau

Prevention
- More community-based youth workers across South Auckland
- Extend Family Start services to Papakura and Mangere
- Provide parenting information to support parents and caregivers of young people
- Evaluate provision of Social Workers in Schools in Counties Manukau
- Introduce social and health assessments for year 9 students in deciles 1 and

2 schools in Counties-Manukau
- Improved reporting and management of truancy
- Expand Youth Transitions within Counties-Manukau
- Evaluate provision of family support services
- Ensure provision of local budgeting services
- Increase Police Education Officers to cover low decile schools (years 7-13)
- Establish dialogue with young people in South Auckland to identify their priorities
- Identify youth support service gaps across South Auckland for future action.


ENDS


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