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New care and protection residence adds 10 beds

27 July 2006

- New care and protection residence adds 10 beds
- New Residential Business Plan being implemented

Whakatakapokai, Child, Youth and Family’s new care and protection residence will be officially opened by Ruth Dyson, Child, Youth and Family Minister today (27th). Other speakers at the opening include Manukau Mayor, Sir Barry Curtis and Ray Smith, Child, Youth and Family’s Acting Deputy Chief Executive.

Formerly known as the Northern Residential Centre, this new facility will increase the number of care and protection beds from 38 to 48 nationwide.

Whakatakapokai’s opening is also the culmination of Child, Youth and Family’s ten-year building programme that has separated youth justice and care and protection services.
This is an important development, according to Ken Rand, Manager Intensive Services.

“Young people in care and protection residences have different needs to those in youth justice residences. Separating the campuses enables Child, Youth and Family to focus on programmes specific to each group’s differing needs,” says Mr Rand.

Children and young people in care and protection residences are amongst the most vulnerable in the country, often coming from abusive or neglectful environments. They may have had to contend with family violence, drugs, alcohol abuse or transiency and as a result they can display complex and difficult behaviours. Young people are referred to residences because their behaviour is either a risk to themselves or to others and they require 24-hour supervision.

“It’s important that we provide the right kind of environment to address their needs,” said Mr Rand.

Child, Youth and Family is also rolling out a new three-year Residential Business Plan (2005-2008), which is aimed at ensuring consistency across Residential Services.

“Our new Residential Business Plan began its roll out at the end of last year. Its vision of Safe Environment, Lasting Change signifies a change from mainly focusing on safe containment to using a young person’s residential placement as an opportunity to demonstrate that young people can change their self-destructive behaviour,” said Mr Rand.

“By standardising programme and service delivery across all our residences, we can ensure that the kinds of residential programmes we run will be more tailored to each young person’s specific needs, integrating health, education and welfare. We want to see our children and young people back in their community on a lasting basis.”

Whakatakapokai’s construction began in February last year by Robert Cunningham Construction Ltd and has cost in the region of $8.25 million. The facility has a new residential block, a new flat for family visitors and an upgraded school and administration building. Minor modifications have also been made to the existing gym.

Four young people at the residence have also been working towards the Young New Zealanders’ Challenge Award. Today, one will be awarded with her Bronze Award by Sir Barry Curtis, Mayor of Manukau. The remaining three will be awarded with certificates in recognition of completing three of the four sections at Bronze level.

Ken Rand says that Whakatakapokai’s opening cements the future direction of Child, Youth and Family’s Residential Services.

“Right now, we are in a unique position. We have purpose-built facilities, the benefit of research, an understanding of international best practice and what really works with young people in residential care. We have staff committed to enabling young people in their care to be the best they can be and we have a management team committed to planned and purposeful change.

“We can and will be a world-leading Residential Services provider through the commitment and contribution of us all. Our young people and staff should expect nothing less.”

ENDS

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