Action Plan helps teens figure out “what next”
Knowing they have somewhere safe to go is the top priority for young people transitioning to independence after time in care or youth justice – they now have more options as a result of 3 agencies working together and increasing their support.
Te Tūāpapa Kura Kainga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children, and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) have kicked off coordinated, meaningful and sustainable changes to the current system that will help these rangatahi find a place to call home and improve access to our Transition Support Service.
Prioritising housing services for young people transitioning to independence from care and youth justice placements cross-agency plan for implementation is now publicly available. This is an outline of changes that includes:
- a greater number and variety of placements for young people
- stronger connections between young people and existing services
- looking at what improvements can be made.
A planned, joined-up approach
The opportunity to better understand the needs of young people arose out of the Oranga Tamariki Action Plan, which is a multi-agency commitment to prioritising children and tamariki, young people and rangatahi, and their families and whānau in the care or custody of Oranga Tamariki or at risk of needing Oranga Tamariki intervention.
Understanding need is critical to making the right decisions, says Phil Grady, Deputy Chief Executive System Leadership at Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children.
“When most young people hit their late teens and head out on their own, they have chosen that path and know where they are going. Many young people leaving care or youth justice aren’t in that position. They often have multiple, compounding, complex and high needs, as well as fragmented personal support systems. So, we really needed to get things sorted for them in ways that their experiences have helped shape.
“I’d like to thank and acknowledge our partners at HUD and MSD for being so positive and genuine in their commitment to prioritise these young people and to take on the findings of the first needs assessment. We are delighted with the start that has been made and look forward to continuing our mahi together. I would also like to awhi all the kaimahi, and everyone who contributed to the selection of these actions,” says Phil.
Where gaps in services were identified, the agencies have set out what they will do to fill them. That includes delivering at least 80 additional youth-focused transitional places over four years and establishing a new supported housing service of up to 65 places for young people with higher, more complex needs. A series of reviews have also been committed to for some existing services, including young parent homes and the emergency housing system.
The agencies’ mahi – and new collateral and training to better promote what is already in place but hasn’t always been known about – already appears to be having a positive impact with the uptake of the entitlement to remain with or return to a caregiver increasing. In the 12 months to December 2022, 73 young people had taken up this entitlement, compared to 58 young people at the same time the previous year.
Published: March 10, 2023 · Updated: March 16, 2023