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Agencies take joint approach to behaviour problems

Agencies take joint approach to young people with severe behavioural difficulties

Child, Youth and Family, Capital & Coast District Health Board and the Ministry of Education are working together to establish a new and innovative programme for young people with severe behavioural difficulties.

The Severe Conduct Disorder Programme has been developed for young people from the lower North Island and will open in Lower Hutt in October.

The three agencies and a group of experts have developed the programme over the past year using the best practise of all the professions that will be involved.

The three-stage programme begins with approximately three months intensive therapy, education and support at the specially designed residential centre. The second stage sees the young people living in a specialist family home for approximately three months. A programme to assist the reintegration of the young people back into the community is being developed. The young people’s reintegration will then be supported over a 12-18 month period.

Timing of each stage will depend on the progress made by each child or young person. Families/whanau are actively encouraged to come and stay with the young person during Stage Two, to learn positive parenting strategies and how to follow through with the behavioural management skills being used in the programme. Child, Youth and Family Acting Director of National Services Ken Rand said the programme reflects the Department’s increasingly therapeutic approach for young people in residential care.

“Addressing the therapeutic and clinical needs of children and young people with severe behavioural difficulties gives them an opportunity to make changes that enable them to enhance their life possibilities,” Mr Rand said.

Severe Conduct Disorder (SCD) encompasses complex set of significant behaviour disorders that are most likely to respond to an intensive, structured programme that emphasises the learning of self control strategies and life skills in a therapeutic environment. At full operation there will be 20 new placements on the programme each year. The young people will be aged between 12 and 16. This programme will deliver the first fully funded three stage services of its kind in New Zealand.

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