Government expands Fast Track youth offending programme

Published: May 22, 2023 · Updated: May 31, 2023

The government has announced that more children who have offended, and their whānau will receive additional support.

Fast Track YJ group shot
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, Minister for Children Kelvin Davis and Minister of Police Ginny Andersen making the announcement in Hamilton

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, Minister for Children Kelvin Davis, and Minister of Police Ginny Andersen recently announced plans to expand Fast Track to central Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton. 

“Youth crime has decreased significantly over the past decade, showing the Government’s approach to getting youth offenders out of the justice system and back into school, training and work is the best way to prevent future crime,” Minister Davis said.

Read the Ministers’ full announcement about the Fast Track expansion.

Tāmaki Makaurau success drives expansion

Initially launched in south and west Auckland late in 2022, the Fast Track protocol was developed by Oranga Tamariki and Police to activate a community-led response to serious or persistent offending by children aged 10 to 13.

Minister Davis said the Government has committed to supporting the expansion because it was shown to be effective in helping those children re-engage with education and their communities, which are powerful protective factors.

“Only 28 percent of those referred from the fast track, or ‘circuit breaker,’ pilot through to the multi-agency teams have been referred again, showing the impact quick support can have.”

Mayor speaks to guests

Fast track YJ programme hui
Mayor of Hamilton Paula Southgate speaks to guests at the event

Another key part of this approach involves local coordination teams, which work across government, community organisations and iwi. The effectiveness of this approach has been seen in initiatives like Kotahi te Whakaaro and MDCAT in Tāmaki Makaurau. Where established, these teams receive the referrals from Police.

In areas where local teams have not yet been established, other relevant agencies, community providers and iwi will meet to assess needs and to work with whānau to develop an initial plan.

Fast Track reflects the transformation of Oranga Tamariki

Fast Track shows the strong focus Oranga Tamariki continues to have on the prevention of offending and reoffending through child-centred and co-ordinated partnerships with other government agencies, iwi and the community.

The Fast Track protocol and local coordination teams build on the legacy of the Youth Offending Teams under the Youth Crime Action Plan, and are an example of the Oranga Tamariki Action Plan in action. They demonstrate the commitment from a group of agencies across the children’s system to work together to support tamariki and whānau, by increasing access to and coordination of services.

The approach also supports the Ministry’s shift to a locally led way of working, as outlined in the Oranga Tamariki Future Direction Plan. Through local coordination teams, Oranga Tamariki is enabling communities to determine their own local approach and solutions, with a collective focus on shifting the trajectory of offending behaviour.