Pilot therapeutic programme for young offenders and their families

Published: May 5, 2020

Evaluation with baseline findings about how well Pae Whakatupuranga operated in its first six months.


Pae Whakatupuranga | Functional Family Therapy – Cross Generations (PW: FFT-CG) is a pilot programme aimed at breaking the intergenerational cycle of offending for young people and improving family wellbeing. It is an adaptation of Functional Family Therapy (FFT), which integrates Māori and Pacific frameworks with the Western FFT therapeutic model. 

Oranga Tamariki has partnered with the New Zealand Police, Department of Corrections, Youth Horizons Trust (the provider) and the developers of FFT to design and deliver the pilot programme.

Youth Horizons began implementing PW: FFT-CG in Auckland in July 2019.

The Wave 1 formative evaluation report provides baseline findings about how well PW: FFT-CG operated in its first six months. It reports on the first of three ‘waves’ of formative evaluation, which focus on operational improvements and will be followed by an impact evaluation (focused on achievement of expected outcomes).

Key findings

The findings are based on an analysis of administrative data and data collected from professionals involved with the pilot. Data was not collected from participants, but they will be asked to take part in Wave 2 of the formative evaluation.

The evaluation found that:

  • the partner agencies are working well together and are making a real effort to interweave Māori and Pacific cultural frameworks with the Western FFT therapeutic model
  • improvements have been made to the programme’s referral process but more work is needed to increase take-up of the programme: a high proportion of families exit after they have been allocated to a therapist, or after their first therapy session.

Key recommendations

  • Better understand why families exit PW: FFT-CG early, building on improvements that have already been put in place.
  • Implement additional processes to reduce the number of referred clients who cannot be contacted by the provider.
  • Collect more data about the activities therapists undertake to gain families’ trust.
  • Develop a single administrative database for the programme.
  • Clarify the ownership of: the parts of the Māori cultural framework that have been incorporated into the PW: FFT-CG Clinical Training Manual; and the administrative data.

Next steps

Wave 2 focuses on the cultural appropriateness of PW: FFT-CG and will be completed and published later in 2020.