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Christchurch Social Agency Applauds Initiative

Tuesday 8 June 2004

Christchurch Social Agency Applauds Initiative For Youth Offending

The Government is to be congratulated on today's youth justice residence package, according to one Christchurch social agency.

The Family Help Trust, which focuses on early intervention work with at-risk children in high risk families, is pleased the package recognises the important role families play in the development and growth of children.

"Anything that can help keep our young people out of the prison system is good news however, we believe more can be done at an earlier stage, to help reduce the likelihood of these children offending at all," says the Trust's Clinical Service Manager, Bill Pringle.

The Family Help Trust's successful programmes recognise that the family is one of the keys in 'breaking the cycle' of generational offending and violence.

"We strengthen the family with intensive early intervention (getting involved with families before children turn 5, before bad habits are learned), improving parenting skills and providing parents with more support and education. This better equips families to deal with difficulties when they occur and helps to break the cycle of learned dysfunction that often leads to offending and violence if not dealt with early enough," says Bill Pringle. The Family Trust sees this latest initiative as a way to help stem the flow of youth into adult offending but sounds a warning.

"If the families on these new Government programmes are not intensively supported and educated as part of the initiative, unfortunately, as research and studies show, these young offenders will more than likely find themselves back in residential care, or worse, prison."


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