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Evaluation shows Youth Service working

Evaluation shows Youth Service working

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says an evaluation of Youth Service, the first of the Government’s welfare reforms, provides hard evidence that it is working in turning around young peoples’ lives.

"Every bit of common sense told us that getting in early, connecting them with a mentor and engaging them in education and training would be one of the best things we could do.

“Just 18 months in, the Youth Service programme has already seen 63 per cent of 16 and 17 year olds receiving the Youth Payment achieving NCEA credits in their first year, compared to 24 per cent of similar young people who received the old Independent Youth Benefit (IYB).

“Prior to Youth Service, most of these young people were disconnected from school and had no NCEA qualifications. Now four out of five young people enrolled in Youth Service are in education or training.

“14 per cent of Youth Payment recipients met the requirements for NCEA Level 2 compared to 5 per cent of the young people who received IYB.

“This is a great result, particularly when you consider the backgrounds of most of these young people. Many have come from dysfunctional or abusive families.

“Mentoring and education are vital in providing young people with the opportunity to lead successful and independent lives.

“The measurement and evaluation of programmes is invaluable – not only does it ensure that the initiative is making concrete, tangible changes, it also helps us understand what is and isn’t working well so we can continuously learn and improve.

“Because of the small number of young people on the Young Parent Payment (YPP) and their childcare responsibilities it will be four to five years to fully assess the impact of Youth Service in reducing the long term benefit reliance of young parents.

“There’s been good progress in improving the education results for young parents with 43 per cent achieving NCEA credits in their first year, compared to 20 per cent of similar teen parents who received Emergency Maintenance Allowance (EMA) or the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB).

“Another positive trend is the reduction of young mothers aged 16-19 years on benefit dropping reducing by 40 per cent from 4,263 in 2009 down to 2,579 in 2013.

“I’m very pleased that we are making good inroads into transforming the lives of these young people and giving them the help they need to avoid a lifetime on benefits,” says Mrs Bennett.


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