Evidence Centre Seminar: September 2023
Published: October 18, 2023 · Updated: October 18, 2023
This virtual seminar was on the Ngā Haerenga | Transition Journeys 3 year research project.
Rangatahi journeys moving on from care - our 3-year study
Ngā Haerenga | Transition Journeys is a 3-year study of 24 rangatahi. It follows their transition to independent living from Oranga Tamariki care and custody arrangements.
The study spans 10 regions of Aotearoa New Zealand. It was developed by Oranga Tamariki in partnership with 3 external, regional research teams.
The teams interviewed rangatahi in their respective rohe each year for 3 years. They also interviewed their whānau or support people.
The presentation provides:
- insights from the study
- contextual background to the study
- an overview of an emergent framework (the āhuatanga sensemaking framework)
- key findings from year 3 of the study which focussed on rangatahi experiences and outcomes 18-24 months after leaving care.
The speakers include members from the Oranga Tamariki teams in Ōtautahi, Waikato and Te Whanganui-a-Tara. It was chaired by the Oranga Tamariki project coordinator.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
Kia ora tatou, ko Damian O'Neill ahau. I'm from the Evidence Centre at Oranga Tamariki. Thank you, Eugene, for that warm opening and karakia. Eugene is part of the Waikato rōpū, which is one of the three teams that assist in this work that we're doing and that we're talking about today. So, we'll come back to the Waikato team shortly.
Thank you everybody for coming to this seminar, it's great that so many people are interested in our study of a cohort of rangatahi leaving here and into their second year of independence from Oranga Tamariki. So, we're really excited to share our findings from the study that we've been doing, and we'll just do some quick introductions first, before we get started. I will pass you on to Cheyenne from the Ōtautahi team.
Kia ora, Damian. Tena tatou. (Māori greeting) Ko Cheyenne Scown toku ingoa. So, kia ora everyone, as Damian said I'm Cheyenne, I'm one of the researchers based down here in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. My colleague, Sarah Wiley, I'm not sure if she's on yet, but hopefully she will be joining us soon. We've been conducting interviews with rangatahi within Canterbury and North Otago as well. So, that's me, kia ora. I will pass over to Deb.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
Kia ora koutou katoa, (Māori greeting). I grew up in a little place called Tāneatua, but I live and work in the Waikato and have done so for many years. I've been leading the Waikato team here with Eugene and Louise Weir. Lousie may be on, but in the audience today, but not with us presenting. I work as a independent Kaupapa Māori evaluator and I've been really privileged to be part of this research, talking to our rangatahi and connecting into the rangatahi's space. And also, with our co-workers and colleagues. Kia ora.
DR CATHERINE LOVE:
Tena koutou katoa. Ko Catherine Love ahau. (Māori greeting). I'm part of the -- I'm one of the Wellington team. We have interviewed people from around the Wellington, Hutt Valley area up through Kapiti, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Wairarapa. Kia ora.
Kia ora tatou. (Māori greeting) I'm Shamia Shariff. I'm affiliated with the Poneke rōpū, and I've had the honour of coming into this project last year, I think, to help facilitate and basically hold the pen on the year three report. And I had a particular focus, I have a background in research, strategic development, policy development, quality assurance, you know, all that structural analysis. I do all those exciting things from a Kaupapa Māori perspective so, I had a particular focus on assisting the whānau, the awesome team that have been on this journey with the integration of the Kaupapa Māori aspects into the year three report. Nga mihi.
Kia ora Shamia. (Māori greeting). So, yeah, Eugene, I'm born and raised in South Auckland, Manurewa, but been in Waikato for a while now and been part of the research team from Waikato. Yeah, and as the others have sort of noted, definitely privileged to be part of this rangahau and yeah, it's been a sort of awesome journey over the last few years in the work that we're doing. And yeah, myself I'm not actually a researcher full-time, but I do sort of work in the rangatahi space for quite some time, yeah, and sort of chimed in here with the team because I do work alongside a lot of our young people in Waikato. And some of those young people that we work with, yeah, either in care and protection or youth justice spaces, so yeah, good connection with the mahi. So, anyway, koinā tāku. Kia ora.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
It's my pleasure to talk about the purpose and method, so you can put this research into context. That's always good for the credibility of the research and we're very proud of our method. Then we're going to move on to the Ngā Āhuatanga framework, which is the sense making framework that we use to try to understand the complex journeys rangatahi are going through when they leave care, the wide range of circumstances and situations that they come from and move through. And then we'll cut to the chase with some key findings and key takeaways that we're going to share with you. And there's some opportunity to, throughout to answer some questions or for you to ask some questions via chat.
The purpose of the study is to hear rangatahi voices and explore and document a cohort's experiences and journeys out of statutory care. So ‑‑ and this includes rangatahi leaving youth justice facilities as well. So, they're leaving Oranga Tamariki care and custody arrangements, a wide range of care arrangements, and some are leaving youth justice residences and to journeys out of state care and into independent adulthood. We wanted to -- or the Oranga Tamariki wanted to build our understanding of the thinking of rangatahi prior to leaving care, so what their aspirations were, what their plans were, to what extent they were prepared or, and thinking about what they were going to be doing when they leave care. And these are 17-year-olds, 17-and-a-half-year-olds, going on 18, so it's just prior to them leaving.
We are really interested in learning about their trajectories following their move, you know, the successes they have, the things that they're doing, the outcomes they're achieving, the trials and tribulations they had along the way and we're really interested in six key outcome areas, which are part of the goals for the newly established transition support service.
So these six areas include kāinga or housing, mahi and akoranga, education and work, they include hapori, participating in the community, they include staying crime free if you're coming out of a youth justice facility, and the other two are hapori, health and wellbeing and hononga, connecting with people around them. So we're really interested in those six outcome areas and we'll be talking about some of the achievements in those spaces today.
And finally, we're interested in learning about what enables success or what constrains success, so the factors that contribute to successful, unsuccessful or unexpected outcomes. So we're using a method called longitudinal qualitative research. That's the broad framework that we've used and we're using a bunch of mixed methods within that. So longitudinal qualitative research is a method that's been around for decades, mainly in the health sciences, so it's a really good strategy for engaging with people, a cohort, as they move through some kind of event, some kind of intervention or life experience, and following them over that time with regular check ins and in-depth interviews. Normally in the health sciences it's used over a short time frame, but we've extended this out to three years of in-depth engagements with the rangatahi as they leave care and following up on them for two years after they've left care.
And LQR, longitudinal qualitative research, uses the same rangatahi, the same cohort, and it's the same researchers. So we're building up a relationship with the rangatahi, and that way we're building up trust and able to sort of tap in more deeply into their experience. And one of the great things about longitudinal qualitative research is that it enables us to explore themes across the cohort and also to look at the trajectories of rangatahi individually and identify life experiences which are really important for their outcomes. We've used mixed methods within this broad framework, so in the final report which we are hoping will be available shortly, in September, we've got case studies. We've also used Likert scales to track people's progress over time and there's ‑‑ and other tools is used as well, for example, some Kaupapa Māori tools that we'll talk about shortly, like Te Whare Tapa Whā, a model that we could use in some of the discussions with rangatahi.
And our approach with -- personally I found it a really interesting and really challenging way to do it that the group coalesced around an approach that was -- we were integrated but we had some variability across the teams. So you've met some of the key people from the three research teams that were covering broad regions of Aotearoa, fanning out from three rohe and that ranged from Otago up to the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.
The three teams, we work together to develop, you know, protocols and how we were going to work, how we were going to contact the young people and the focus areas that we were going to ask questions about. And one really powerful or useful tool for integrating our mahi across all the three teams was we came together each year for a two-day hui where we did some planning, making sure we were all on the same page in terms of our safety protocols for the rangatahi and keeping in touch with them over time, and the kind of questions that we were going to be asking. And then we would come together as well and make sense of those interviews to try to draw out what the key shared experiences were for the rangatahi.
So every year we were coming together for two days, face to face, planning and analysing, and a key part of this, the work, as well was drawing on Kaupapa Māori methodology and I'll pass on to Deb to speak about that.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
Oh, kia ora, Damian. Just briefly, we had a really strong focus on a Kaupapa Māori methodology in how we might integrate this into the research. So there was a bit of tension around, you know, what to call this but the fact that when we started we were actually independent research groups external to Oranga Tamariki with very strong Māori researchers within each of our teams. And so that has created a good foundation for what we've developed over time through the research. And so, with the support of Oranga Tamariki and Damian and the team within, we've been able to look at the analysis, in particular through a whakaaro Māori framing, and we'll talk a little bit more about that.
But we were very strongly focused on supporting a Māori analysis of the journeys across both non-Māori and Māori rangatahi in the rōpū. It developed over each year, so we focussed more and more each year on asking particular questions around connection to Te ao Māori or to culture or to whakapapa, or to whānau and things like that as well. And we have a little description there of where some of those connections are for young people, or are not. That's probably all I'll say for now, I'll just hand it over to, back to Damian. We'll talk more about what we developed shortly.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
Oh, here's a picture of us at one of our two day hui, we were all looking a little bit younger and it always makes me laugh, this photo, because we were so enthusiastic and excited about the mahi that was coming up and it was really hard work and I think back then, well, I'd underestimated how hard it would be.
One of the things that was hard, I think, was, you know, looking out for these young people. Some of those Kaupapa Māori values, kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, we were making sure they were okay along the way. And keeping in touch with people going through challenging circumstances was something that, you know, I take my hat off to our team for doing. They've been there for those people across these delicate times in their lives.
So just to put it in context, it's been a long-term project. In 2019 we did a budget bid to get some money for this project. This was alongside the newly to be established transition support service, which supports rangatahi who leave care with some one-to-one support and some preparation before they leave, and some follow up support after they leave. And there's an evaluation of that service as well, and then this longitudinal research was part of that budget bid as well, so we were very lucky to get this funding at this time in 2019.
And then in late 2019 we started forming our team together and planning for the three years of field work that we were going to do. And we also recruited 51 young people out of 120 who were expected to leave in a three-month period. Moving down to that bottom row there, this is when we started the field work. So in 2020 we did -- we interviewed 44 rangatahi who said they were keen to participate, and these were one to six months prior to their leaving care, so they were 17-and-a-half-year-olds, going on 18. We interviewed 44 of them in their homes with their caregivers, with their whānau and by themselves, and then we came together at the end of that to do some sense making about their journeys and understand that first wave of interviews. These were rangatahi on the cusp of leaving care and so we were really interested in their plans and aspirations and their thinking at that time.
And then in round two in 2021, we did the interviews of them in their first year away from Oranga Tamariki living more independently, so they were six to twelve months out of care, and we interviewed them again, did that follow up. Twenty-six of the original forty-four were still with us at that point. We were able to keep in touch with them and they agreed to participate so we were really pleased with this retention rate, and we came together for another sense making hui, to make sense of it and planning for year three, which is where we are now, round three, and we had 24 of the original 44 with us at this stage, so that is really awesome. So this is in their second year, this is what we're reporting on today, feeding back on and we've got this report in the wings now, which we're hoping to publish shortly. Okay, I'll pass the rākau on to Debbie.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
Oh, kia ora. So just to also affirm that, you know, the rangatahi that we spoke to were actually a very diverse group of rangatahi. In our last year three interviews we had -- of the twenty-four we had nine female and fifteen male and we -- just over half were Māori. We had one -- nine New Zealand European rangatahi, one Pacific and one Asian rangatahi and for five of those rangatahi, disability was a significant part of their journey, and it was really great to be able to have and understand some of their journeys as well.
One in four, or six or these rangatahi were -- had been in a youth justice facility and four were parents. So we had three tāne and one wāhine who was a parent, and one rangatahi that was hapu at the time of the third interview. So, as you can kind of reflect, that there was a very broad range of rangatahi and rangatahi experiences and that was the really cool and challenging and exciting part of this -- of this cohort. Through sense -- so then, as we were thinking about how to make sense of the journeys as we spoke before, and Eugene will speak to more of this, we started to think about what was important to these rangatahi and, using whakaaro Māori and Māori concepts, the Māori researchers came together and discussed and cohered around a whole lot of concepts and what we were hearing and sensing. And I'm just going to pass that over to Eugene now, to explain I guess, how we developed the sense making and the framework.
Yeah, kia ora Deb. Yeah, so what you can see here is what we've called Te Āhautanga framework, and it was really good that after the first -- when we came together ā tinana down in Wellies, in terms of sense making sessions we were able to hui tahi as Māori researchers, so we were able to caucus and sort of really think about the stories that were coming forth in the first round of interviews and think about what are the āhua that are coming forward.
So, I mean, as you'd expect, we'd have a framework of interview questions and stuff already, and we'd sort of utilise those for the first round and then -- and then, when we were doing the sense making in the first sense making session after the first round, where we started to sort of caucus as Māori in terms of what is it that we were noticing, both in our interactions and the stories of the young people coming forward. And so, yeah, this framework sort of emerged from that conversation.
And yeah, I mean, we saw it as a way to sort of be able to sit alongside these conversations with young people. It was developed in year two, so it wasn’t from the get-go, but right when we started doing the sense making we sort of came up with this framework. Well, we had a number of concepts and not only would we ‑‑ that we saw it or we heard it come through in the stories, but we wanted to have it as a way to apply the data collection and analysis in regards to the findings.
Yeah, so utilising āhua Māori to make sense of the stories coming forward, specifically from a Te ao Māori lens and insisting that the enquiry, especially the times when we're hui tahi and kōrero tahi with the young people and it sort of really kept us close to those stories, so we were sort of listening out for these aspects or these examples of this āhua Māori. We had, as I said, there was a few but we landed on four, as you can sort of see there. So we had manaaki and, you know, (Māori language spoken). We sort of articulated these concepts in our way and, you know, as we know, our Māori have very explorative ways of describing these concepts. So just in our small little crew we were able to come up with these and then think about what that might mean for us when we sort of engage in further interviews.
So manaaki, self-agency and uniqueness, some kaho na kite ruatangata, listening out for aspects that speak to initiative or purpose, you know, intricacies of what makes them them. So really manaaki, in terms of (Māori language spoken), so what is it specifically that, you know, that, sort of, celebrates this uniqueness or this initiative or this purpose for themselves as individuals.
We had hononga was another one, so connectedness. So we know we can all appreciate connections, is really helpful and how we sort of articulated was, it was sort of connections to a number of things, whether it be whakapapa, whenua, whānau, Kaupapa, so listening out for examples in those stories around being connected to people, to tipuna, the places of significance, people of significance, Kaupapa that allows for meaningful engagement and inclusion, yeah.
Haumarutanga, so that's our safe spaces or safe places, so in our sort of conversations and when we analyse the stories that come forward we're listening out for places or people, environments and any internal dialogue that might promote a sense of safety or comfortableness, like a korowai of aroha and manaaki, yeah.
And then the fourth one, ārahitanga, so guidance and support, so listening out for types of sources that offer or provide guidance, support, either by people, Kaupapa, tipuna, whakatauki, kōrero, and at times might identify a tuakana-teina relationship where guidance and support might be coming from a number of places, not just with immediate whānau ake but whānau whānui, whakahoahoa, hona kaimahi, so, yeah, those were sort of like the four, yeah, āhautanga that we sort of landed on to sort of, yeah, to frame up our sense making.
And then, as you can see in the framework there, on the outside we have those -- the TSS outcomes, which was, yeah, which was sort of already there in terms of the transitional service outcomes around that, so -- and I just -- I'll just give that to Deb to whakamōhio mai around that stuff, yeah. Kia ora.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
Oh, kia ora Eugene, I mean really, how we developed these four, kind of, themes that came out of our understanding and reflection of the āhua of rangatahi is kind of the basis of kind of the richness of the report and the richness of telling their journeys. And so you'll see in the report that we reflect on all of these aspects throughout each of the outcome areas, and I think they provide a lot more sense, I guess, to what it is that has enabled or supported or created challenges for these rangatahi in kind of these outcome areas. So that's kind of a layout of the report that you'll be able to see soon.
What we did with the -- in the second year around the Āhuatanga framework was check that back with the rangatahi in the third interview. So we asked them, presented some of this back to them and checked back whether it made sense to them, and it was strongly validated by rangatahi that these sorts of concepts definitely made sense to them and resonated. Some resonated more specifically with certain parts of it, but we also implemented, some of us implemented a bit more of a kōrero around this where they used it as a tool to rate themselves even. So it became a tool for, I guess, them to use as a self-assessment kind of reflection tool as well. So that was part of our mahi there.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
Thank you, Debbie, that's awesome. So we've got time for some questions and two have come in. So I'll quickly put them out to the team. The first one, "Kia ora, did you hear from any rainbow young people in our study?"
DR CATHERINE LOVE:
I will respond from the Wellington crew, and there was no one overtly identified as rainbow amongst our cohort.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
I remember that in year one, we had one transgender person involved in the study, but they didn’t keep going with the study.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
Yeah, that was the same from our end in the Waikato. I think there was just the one Cheyenne could possibly speak to. Kia ora.
It's not something we overtly pursued or asked questions around, however, if it came up within our interviews it's something we definitely talked about. But yeah, down in Ōtautahi we did have one young person who identified as trans, and they were also in a unique situation where they were in a youth justice facility. So we were able to interview them at year one, but there was a lot of difficulty in continuing to interview after that. And later I think that they went back into the community, but yeah, beyond that it was, unfortunately some of those stories weren’t able to be captured if it was hard to continue on those connections with some of our young people, and that happened across a range of different circumstances as well.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
We've got a second, another question here is, "How much do you think your interviews and interactions with the rangatahi affected their outcomes? That is, if you weren’t there becoming involved, could the outcomes have been different?"
DR CATHERINE LOVE:
This was something that we certainly agonised over, to an extent. And we landed in a place that we wouldn’t -- our job was not to, you know, really to awhi them in a practical way, but in a situation where there was one person who was in an unsafe situation, we did provide explicit support for that and actually she managed to move on from that situation through her own mechanisms really. But that was an issue. And the other thing was that most of them, in their early stages had little contact with the transition support or weren’t clear what the transition support service was there for. So we provided some written information and encouragement for that.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
Yes, that's right. The service was set up -- the study was set up and went in parallel with the implementation of the transition support service, so it was very much early days and we worked in with the transition support service to get the key contacts that we could pass on to rangatahi and encourage them to engage with those services.
We also built-up protocols around being there for the rangatahi if they needed us to come along with them for another -- to meet another organisation for example, like WINZ. So we were there to provide that. I don’t think we ever did that in the end, but we worked through those protocols because we didn’t want to be just observers and let some awful things happen, so occasionally we did actively support the young people.
DR CATHERINE LOVE:
We also had a list of agencies and organisations that could provide support in specific areas, yeah, which we passed on to them.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
I'd just like to reflect on that interaction we had as, yes, it was almost like an intervention in itself when I reflected on some of it. Because just seeing them for an hour or an hour and a half and then some kind of little, little kind of catch ups or messages in between, maybe one or two throughout the year, not many, just to kind of keep that -- try and keep in touch before the next interview. It wasn’t huge, but it was an hour and a half that we spent with them to hear their story, and I felt that as we did that, especially the ones that we saw, you know, over the years, it was something that they reflect -- they can reflect on their own story and share their own story and they felt good about that, some of them, and it just became an important thing, I guess, something that was important for them to be able to tell their story really, and without having any kind of other, "Oh, they're here to help me", or "They're here to get something out of me", but "They're here just to hear my story and whatever I want to say".
And I think, just quickly, sorry, that those that sort of stayed in the Kaupapa for the three years, we could definitely monitor or notice the changes, not just in their circumstances but in the way that they might interact in the conversation. So I definitely feel that that was noticeable across the whole three-year timeframe, but I do tautoko whaea Cath's comment around that, you know, we were sort of there for a particular Kaupapa but sort of wanted to do a bit of extra. So I think, if anything, that sort of was added on to what we initially intended to do was more regular touch points with them, rather than intervention based sort of work, yeah so, yeah.
Kia ora. I just wanted to add in my two cents too and yeah, really agree with what everyone shared. It was difficult as a researcher at times, sometimes we were talking to rangatahi in youth justice, sometimes we ended up being in adult prison, sometimes it was a range of other circumstances that were really difficult. And I do think that what we did bring as out rōpū was a really -- a lot of positivity, a lot of looking into their strengths, that sometimes, you know, for them they couldn’t always identify their own strengths, but we could often reflect back to them in the things that they had told us, "Oh, well you mentioned that, you know, this was really important to you, it sounds like you're quite a caring person", or something like that. And I definitely noticed in a lot of my interactions, we might have been talking about difficult things, but when we came away at the end, I did feel like often their wairua was a little bit lifted up or, you know, their chest was out a little bit more. To have had someone listen to their story and also just give a little bit of affirmation, especially if they didn’t have, maybe other connections in their life that were doing that as well. So, yeah, it was a huge privilege to kōrero with our rangatahi.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
We've got one quick question on methodology and that was around the retention rate, why we had a really good retention rate. And I think it's those things like manaakitanga that the team have just talked about, and engaging with the people, rangatahi, meaningfully. But other factors as well, like we had protocols around just keeping in touch with the rangatahi in between interviews and making sure we had up to date contact details and checking in on them. And also we, you know, we -- there was face-to-face meetings and we'd buy them lunch or, you know, just have meaningful engagements with them, so it was really good for retention as well I think. So now we're into the findings area.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
Oh, kia ora, this is my bit. So in terms of the findings, we're going to set this out in those six Kaupapa areas, those six outcome areas, but we're also talking about and integrating that -- those four āhautanga concepts in these slides coming up. So in terms of kāinga, most of our rangatahi were, you know, in year three that we interviewed, not the ones, obviously, that we didn’t get to see in year three, were in a stable living situation, were with whānau, caregivers, partners, extended whānau, sometimes living alone. So a variety of places, but in pretty good stable environments; however, some of those journeys over the year had already been up and down a number of times, but at that point in time, all was good.
Rangatahi with disabilities were often with supportive foster parents or in supported living, which was really great to see, and some rangatahi were looking to change that living situation due to some conflicts that were happening, often with flatmates or whānau, and some were just wanting a bit more independence.
And then we had those that were actually in not so -- or hadn’t been more recently in a safe kind of environment, particularly around emergency housing. A couple of them talked about being in emergency accommodation and how bad that was for them, and they got out of there pretty quickly, basically made themselves homeless to get out of the emergency accommodation, and trying to find somewhere else, so a number were couch surfing and relying on cousins or whānau for a few nights. One in particular that I spoke to was couch surfing at the time, so there were moments of homelessness in that for some of our rangatahi.
In making sense of some of this experience we can see that we kind of use these four themes too to reflect on what was working for rangatahi and where there was a lack in those. So in terms of some rangatahi were in great stable homes because their whānau assisted them or took them in, grandma took them in or in laws took them in, or they were able to support them to get somewhere. But then there were some that didn’t have those connections and were struggling to find places to stay. In terms of feeling safe around haumarutanga, you know, that was a significant thing, a key thing for a number of them was just to find stability. So this was one of the most important outcome areas that we kind of really felt was important, obviously, for rangatahi, by rangatahi. They needed a safe place to stay, they needed to be in a supportive environment to be able to kind of do their other things. So not getting that right or not being able to have access to that meant that they were struggling a little bit, and some of those related to not having information or support to get the right home for themselves, to find the right place to stay, or having to move on from places was happening a lot. And you guys probably, or most of you would know this. If you are experienced with rangatahi, and confused, inaccurate or mixed messaging wasn’t helpful either.
So one of the things that we really noticed in some of the journeys was their own independence and their own courage to actually step out of themselves, some with anxieties that had to step out, and it was a big step to go and find somewhere to live with someone they didn’t know. So looking for that flat that many of us would go, "Oh, yeah, no, that's a cool thing to do", for some that was a very hard thing to do, but they had no one else to rely on and it wasn’t working with their current friends. So they would have to step out and go and find somewhere that they knew no one. So this was coming through strongly about some of these rangatahi that were just standing up for themselves and trying to make their way and find something for themselves that would work. One person was actually living in a tent on whānau land, pretty much by himself, going to work and just managing his life like that. Yeah, so there were a whole range of experiences, but this area was significant in terms of their other things that they were doing and trying to get on with in life.
So we'll go to the mahi akoranga section. So most rangatahi were in some kind of work or training but about a quarter or them weren’t, and there were many that were still in, well obviously, in that entry level kind of work around manufacturing, retail, and hospitality, which was great, but some of these rangatahi were also looking for more hours, it was only part time, or they needed to kind of boost their hours to be able to pay their rent.
Some were looking at changing their current situation, or training or work to ‑‑ it didn’t -- wasn’t working for them so they actually made a change in that whole trajectory of that training into a different study area or a different work area. A key aspect of mahi was that connections again, our hononga. So those that were in jobs, some of them got them themselves, but many were, and particularly our youth justice rangatahi, got them through whānau connections. Through whānau connections or friends that got them into jobs and the three of -- and this will be mentioned again later -- but the three of the six from the YJ experience had jobs, the ones that were in the community, which was really fantastic, and those jobs were largely got through friends and whānau. So in terms of our rangatahi support, there was a real mix of support there, and there was quite an absence really of this guidance and planning. So in year one only one in five rangatahi had these formal transitional plans. That may have helped if they had had -- if some of them had had more of that and hopefully that will continue on in the future.
Confusion about some of the next steps. Some of our rangatahi were needing that guidance around, "Oh, what should I do next? How can I do my next step?" or, yeah, "Where should I head to?" but most of them were doing really well in this area.
And as we're talking, I suppose, yeah, we are sort of honing in on the taiohe that we were working with. So, and I think, yeah, it was different ‑‑ different situations and different skillsets, you know, definitely chimed in here, because with a young -- with a rangatahi I was working with, we'll talk connecting with -- it was almost that their initiative and their purpose and their, sort of, their drive to just get out there and get it done was quite strong. And therefore, when the patai around ārahitanga or guidance from others was posed, it wasn’t so much of a priority, the priority was self and getting it done, getting study done, getting, you know, taking initiative, go online, find accommodation, finding work. So, you know, it's quite a contrast to someone else that I might be checking in with, were totally reliant on bros or whānau to support that connection with mahi. Yeah, and so, yeah, just, yeah, yeah, there was some contrasting situations.
Cool, yeah, so I'm going to take us through hauora, so that's our health and wellbeing area. So rangatahi had been telling us a lot about their struggles with mental health since actually year one of our study, so it was clear that it was really an ongoing part of many of their journeys. Several rangatahi talked about ongoing trauma resulting from their time in care. Many spoke about anxiety and some of them talked about depression. Others talked about substance use as well. Some of the challenges that made it hard to attain or maintain wellbeing were related to more specific, so diagnosis or conditions, like ADHD, learning disabilities, autism and also Down's syndrome. Most rangatahi were interested in or conscious about looking after their physical health and they were engaged in a range of activities that you can see listed there on the slide.
And unfortunately, we did have one of our rangatahi who was struggling with long COVID, so that was probably something we weren’t necessarily expecting to hear about, so that was quite interesting. And she shared that it had been really hard for her but at the time of the year three interview she was starting to try to get active again as well. So, haumarutanga and manaaki really came up quite strongly in this area in terms of enablers and challenges for positive hauora outcomes.
So, for haumarutanga, we found it really important that services like counselling, that they be perceived as safe by young people, and for rangatahi to be able to build connections and trust with the kaimahi within those services. When this did happen, we saw the results and examples like the quote at the bottom of that part there that says, where the young person felt happy, they were able to resolve some of the trauma that they'd experienced through therapy. However, at the same time, it was often the inaccessibility of therapeutic services that were negatively impacting on our young people. This could be like a high cost of services, difficulty getting to services. There was also long waiting lists too.
Sometimes rangatahi, they were able to access services but within that, they couldn’t always build a connection. Some talked about not feeling understood. And we also had a couple of rangatahi who had their case files closed by their counsellor, because they missed some of their appointments, and that was really detrimental to their wellbeing, they felt that they really needed that counselling and that had been, I guess, taken away from them.
When thinking about our rangatahi who lived with disability, it was about quality wrap around care situations that were making a huge difference for them. A good example of this was a rangatahi named Lee, who spent time within our study. So Lee features in our report as one of our case studies. So we have case studies for each of our outcome areas as well. He sits under the hapori or community participation outcome area and he had some interests that had the potential to pose danger to himself or to others and that was causing a bit of concern in his living situation. But instead of just kind of shutting that down, his supported living service, they were really courageous and creative, and they did some safety trialling, they did some interventions, they built trust with him and from there they were able to create a really safe environment for both Lee and for other people and that had a really big positive impact on his overall wellbeing.
Looking across to manaaki. So we heard many examples of rangatahi utilising their growing sense of self agency in relation to their hauora. So, for example, one rangatahi was really taking responsibility for her own care, she was really proactive in following up with her GP and mental health service, and another was really working hard to persevere with trying to connect with different therapists to help overcome their trauma. Others talked about doing their own research, becoming more self-aware, like you can see in that quote at the bottom from Ethan. Other rangatahi, they were trying to set up plans and goals related to hauora. Some were becoming mindful about the need to ask for help in relation to that and not being stubborn. And some were also choosing to spend their own money to pay for professional services like therapy.
On the flip side though, it was clear that mental health struggles could also have negative impacts on manaaki. Social anxiety in particular became a big factor that was stopping some rangatahi from participating in activities, from going to the supermarket or maybe going to the gym. And also, that addiction and substance use came up often. So, one rangatahi talked about using alcohol as a coping mechanism and another felt that he had no self-control with his chronic marijuana use which was impacting on his motivation as well.
So the final thing I'd like to highlight for this outcome area is that we have two case studies under this section in our report and they've got an element of contrast to them. So first we hear from Bella, and her story really talked about the far reaching, the bi-directional influence on hauora on the other outcome areas. So like kāinga, mahi akoranga. And she had a lack of guidance, and that resulted in her really having to lean into her sense of manaaki so that she could pursue her goals around hauora. And we also hear about Caleb and his case study. So he also had a really strong sense of manaaki, but he was really well supported to explore his options and that meant that he was able to connect in with the right support eventually, although it wasn’t necessarily timely or affordable for him. So those were really cool to be able to read them alongside each other and see kind of those different aspects as well. Can we go back to that one, sorry --
DR CATHERINE LOVE:
There's a question about how people with disabilities were identified, and I think that's a good question because those that were -- fairly obviously had a disability or multiple disabilities, quite often receive lots of support --
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL: Perfect.
DR CATHERINE LOVE:
-- through services for that. And others self-identified as having a disability, and I'm including addiction in that, and mental health, but for, I would say, probably a majority, they weren’t necessarily, or they didn’t -- weren’t able to access support for their mental health -- mental health problems and there weren’t formally diagnosed as having any sort of disability with that.
Cool, so I'm going to move on to hononga now. So, you know, we've already spoken a little bit about this, it's really about connections, connected relationships. As Eugene spoke about, that's for a range of things, to people, to places. For some rangatahi, like, pets were really important, which wasn’t something that we had thought about before going in, and then hearing about it made a lot of sense. So rangatahi did speak often about the importance of relationships in all different forms. They often mentioned them being positive, and there was support there when those connections were present when they were healthy, but on the other hand, some rangatahi didn’t have many relationships or many connections. Some were quite isolated, or maybe the relationships they had were strained or not supportive as well.
As to be expected with young people, relationships have been evolving and developing across different environments, so different places like work, like school, throughout our whole project. It was also interesting kind of seeing those evolve and develop. And some rangatahi, as mentioned, had become parents, some were already parents during their time in our study and that often brough new responsibilities, continued responsibilities, and the same around their motivations and their perspectives on life. In terms of connection and relationship to culture, there was a real range of experiences being had, and this was prominent for rangatahi Māori in particular and their connection and relationships with Te ao Māori, the Māori world.
Cool, so hononga was a really important outcome area, it was a priority for Oranga Tamariki in its own right, but it also came up as a really prominent āhuatanga. It featured heavily across every outcome area. It is a really huge area to cover, so again I'll just pick up some of the key aspects across those different āhuatanga. So within hononga as in āhuatanga, situated within its own outcome area, something that stood out as strongly challenging for many rangatahi was around disconnection. So that could be -- that involved a range of circumstances, some didn’t know their whānau, maybe didn’t know their whakapapa, their whānau was possibly being unsafe or unwelcoming, or sometimes they experienced forced disconnection as well in the form of care and protection orders. There were also institutional and sometimes practical barriers, such as being involved in the youth justice system or adult prison and not having contact, or not being able to contact or connect with siblings who might be in the care of others.
That was certainly the case for Penny, who was one of the rangatahi that I spoke to, and you can see her quote at the bottom. So she's speaking about not knowing her younger siblings, they're all in separate care and protection placements and their caregivers had complex relationships with her biological mum who she lives with. So that was really distressing for her, really difficult.
Our year 3 cohort we had thirteen rangatahi Māori, and within this group there was a huge range of variability in terms of their own sense of connection with their culture. There was a range of experiences they had in this regard, and also in the levels of interest that they were expressing around this connection. So in our report we decided to illustrate that with a collation of what we termed Rangatahi Māori Hononga Stories, and these were the nets that showed a snapshot of where the rangatahi situated themselves in relation to their journeys.
So one key example that comes to mind, because this is a rangatahi that I spent time with, was a rangatahi called Tania. She's also featured as a case study in our report, and she was involved in care and protection. So she went through many different placements before she found her current caregivers and she ended up becoming part of their family, even though she, you know, kind of aged out, but she was really fortunate that they were also Māori, they were really connected to their culture, they were active within their hapu, within their iwi, on their Marae and that enabled and supported her to connect further to Te ao Māori and also motivated her to pursue her own whakapapa links as well. But although Tania had this great experience, many other rangatahi were seeking their own connection to Te ao Māori or were experiencing disconnection and it was a clear that this -- sorry, it was clear that this was a big gap where rangatahi could benefit from some additional support.
Looking at haumarutanga, it was clear that unsafe environments hindered position connections. So we've also got a quote from Penny's mum there showing, you know, it was difficult for Penny to have friends over because their neighbours were quite intimidating, and within youth justice or prison, you know, it becomes very challenging to either maintain positive connections or even develop new ones.
Looking across to manaaki, we had a few examples of rangatahi really developing their relational maturity. That was often in the form of being more discerning with the connections that they chose to pursue, or quite often putting in boundaries within pre-existing relationships, so like that really powerful quote at the bottom there. So talking about setting a boundary with dad, how hard it is, but the motivation being trying to avoid repeating that cycle and bad habits. So that relational maturity was a strong enabler for positive hononga outcomes.
And lastly, looking at ārahitanga, our guidance hononga was a big mechanism, in either enabling rangatahi to receive guidance that was useful for them, or making it really difficult for them to get that. What we did hear time and time again was a real confusion around some of the roles of the people trying to give them support, so sometimes they weren’t sure who their social worker was, versus who was their transition worker and just overall some experience, like variable or even inconsistent levels of contact, of useful guidance, of practical support, and on that relational level that often resulted in low levels of trust within that connection and sometimes rangatahi didn’t feel like there was follow through there, or even promises kept as well.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
I noticed earlier -- thank you Cheyenne, that there was a question about what enables successful transitioned journeys and I anticipate this is starting to come through now and as we present our findings with the āhuatanga, you know, used as examples of enablers and constraints.
We had a second question also from -- about the framework that we're using, you know, "How is this different from other sense making frameworks, such as Te Whare Tapa Whā?" from Nathan Jury.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
Kia ora, Damian, I saw that -- that question. And I guess there's a lot of synergies with lots of Māori frameworks. And I guess really the difference here is that this one has just developed up from the kōrero from the rangatahi in this particular study. So, there's no, you know, I don’t think we can compare, I think we can just say that this framework has been developed up from the kind of, grounded kōrero that we listened to and may be useful for understanding a little bit more about our rangatahi experiences and the diversity of that.
Yeah, tautoko, Deb. Yeah, I definitely agree. There's definitely synergies with the (Māori language spoken). They have been designed and sort of work alongside the work that we do. And if anything in particular, yes, as Deb's already said, there's some experience near type of approach where conversations and kupu and language (Māori language spoken). So from the āhuatanga that comes from the kōrero or from the (Māori language spoken). So we can sort of connect with that and utilising that as the framework and as we sort of mentioned, it was from a kōrero, from a sense making session that this sort of was, that this came out.
If we sat back a little further, definitely. Synergies across that (Māori language spoken) in all of this awesomeness, in all of the models that are out there, not just that one but others. Yeah, they're definitely synergies, this was particular around the kōrero that came through and then sort of generated this āhuatanga framework. So, yeah.
I think also, yeah, just to tautoko what Eugene and Deb have said, I think the fact that we had some really experienced Kaupapa Māori research experts leading this from the start enabled basically a building on of those Kaupapa Māori models. So, everything was Kaupapa Māori in terms of the way that the teams were conducting the research from the start and so the emerging of this framework specific to this project was really exciting and I think that Kaupapa Māori itself worked really well, not just for the āhuatanga framework and the āhuatanga themselves, but in highlighting, being a tool to highlight the multifaceted and overlapping holistic nature of the six focus areas.
So the basis, I think there was -- the basis was Kaupapa Māori, all that mahi that's been done, that awesome mahi that's already been done.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
Thanks Shamia. There's one other question too here, relating to hononga. And this is about the non-Māori rangatahi and around their cultural connections. What insights did we develop around, they've asked here about Pacific, Asian rangatahi. Was there -- was there cultural connections come through in those interviews?
Ka pai. And I'll just, yeah, just quickly. So one of the teina or the taiohi that I kōrero with was Asian. And, yeah, in terms of kāinga, what would support like, this teina, this young person was, in terms of kāinga. He sought out a place to stay after he had already transcended friends and all the different living situations, he sort of landed in a particular space in his -- between second and third year in a boarding situation and what was quite supportive for him was other Asian and other people that sort of were in that space. So that supported that person to be in that space because they could kōrero tahi around their sort of (Māori language spoken).
So that was quite noticeable in the story, that he had sort of gone through supported living and a flatty situation and then ended up in a boarding situation and really liked this situation because of the people that were in there that were sort of connected to his homeland and to his culture. So that was quite supportive for him.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
And regarding the Pacific rangatahi, sadly there was very little connection to his culture, given that he was in a supported living situation. He started off in a strong Māori whānau, which was really awesome for him in a rural Māori environment near Marae and participated in Marae everything and then when he moved on there was really a disconnection to the whānau after that, that they hadn’t been able to reconnect with, so hopefully things will improve for that connection as he reconnects with whānau.
DR CATHERINE LOVE: And kia ora. We had several Asian people and Pacific as well. And I think, and actually with pakeha as well, the āhuatanga actually resonated across the board. I think they represent -- the āhuatanga that we've identified represent just the common needs and supports or barriers that all these young people encounter. And Pacific and Asian can understand and also have particular views around whānau and the importance of that.
But the thing that was particularly stood out for Asian and to some extent for Pacific was them trying to reconcile their identity, where they were first generation immigrants, their identity within this country. You know, they were perhaps insecure in that or saw their families in a negative light in this cultural environment here, in Aotearoa, whereas they wouldn’t necessarily have back in their home countries. So there's that extra layer for some of the immigrant young people.
Kia ora tatou. Yeah, so, yeah, the next two is -- outcome areas is hapori and staying crime free. So with hapori, and as you'll notice, especially in the quotes, which is, you know, not surprising, is that there's a lot of overlap with how young people describe their situation and their stories. And, you know, we have a framework that's a guide and, you know, not one aspect or one kōrero or one āhautanga will sit exclusively in one quadrant or one sort of aspect, you know, and so there's definitely, you know, it sort of quite interweaves into each other. Because -- yeah and it's -- and we all know this is what happens. So, as someone might be talking about in terms of how we sort of captured in the hapori it sort of resonates with some of the other āhautanga.
And then with hapori community participation, yeah, I mean it was intentional for us to ask about this aspect in their, you know, from where they situated themselves in regards to sort of their participation in the community environments that they live in, that they operate in, that occupy, that they work and study and whatever, you know, and how much of that is actually happening for them. A lot of them did have an element of engagement with the community and I suppose with other aspects you're sort of having a conversation around what that actually looks like or what that might mean to participate in community. Like, for instance, you see this quote down here going fishing and riding bikes and hanging out, so you know, that's in the community because you need -- go out there and, you know. But that sort of also resonates with what Cheyenne was talking about with hauora, you know, in terms of their (Māori language spoken) the engagement with (Māori language spoken) you know, riding on the bikes and hanging out, that that's part of their hauora tanga, but it's also part of engagement in the community, why, because they're out there engaging the community.
So, yeah, many of them did do it, there was different ranges and different aspects of what they would see as participating in the community and for those that did participate in the community, it did provide a lot of different examples like sports and volunteering work and getting out there and being part of community gigs and stuff like that. And for some, if they were sort of really zoned in and doing their own stuff and prioritising maybe their (Māori language spoken) or their mahi tahi, maybe some of the community participation wasn’t much of a priority.
And for those that weren’t sort of doing it, they did identify that some support to do that was needed. Like they might have been aware of what was out there, just the provisions and some of the geographical, yeah, where they were sort of situated might have sort of been -- there might have been an access issue with some of the services or gigs or initiatives that are helping out there in the youth space for young people out there. Yeah, so, that's just the lay of the land of what the hapori is.
Yeah, and so what we've got here is obviously enablers and challenges, so what supported to engage in community, what was sort of got in the way and for some, I mean, Te ao Māori and kapa haka and Marae based activities was definitely supported, but again as you can appreciate not everybody had that access to it. I know that for one of the teina that I was working with, that's what will -- interviewing -- it was helpful because before he got in -- and this was one of those that were in YJ, before he went into YJ residence he was actually engaged in the community.
And so, like in terms of youth initiatives, like he was sort of one of the people that were engaging in the services that were available in the community, but also he became a part of a tuakana with a local rangatahi group and he was offering some of that mahi to young people. And so, when I talked with him in the -- in residence, he was keen to -- he noticed that that was something that was going on good for him and then there was the hara and then when he knew that he was going to get back out then he was going to re-engage with that and for him it was about giving back and doing that and being available and giving back to the community by being part of these gigs, so yeah, that was helpful for them.
In terms of things that got in the way of the young people engaging in community, one is not knowing what is actually out there, their positions, whether or not they had connections to support them to be out there and even the work of an ārahitanga, whether or not there was a good brokering sort of role that people were playing in terms of their engagement with, yeah, services.
So that was sort of what prevented them from getting into that space of community engagement, and look, we weren’t being discriminatory of what type of community engagement was because we're just asking the questions, right. And for some that did come -- for one of them that did come through on my space some of the community engagement was being out there with the a certain Kaupapa whānau, right. And so, the Kaupapa whānau supported this young person to be engaged in the community. It might not have been seen well on other eyes of the community, in terms of that, but the (Māori language spoken) so, that was one sort of aspect that supported him in terms of the connections and people that he was around that supported him to be out in the community and helping out with community spaces and marae-based engagements so, yeah. So, that's, yeah, I figured that's -- it's special to sort of support our young people to be in those spaces, yeah. So, that's hapori.
Also, for some of the teina that we connected with, some were in YJ, some were in care and protection, yeah. So, what we’ve got here is just a status sort of thing, so at year three we were still able to involve -- interview six of them that had previously been in a YJ residence in the year one of study. And then it was a bit of a 50/50, three of them were at -- come the year three interviews were still in the -- well as we got there, three were in prison and three were out, three weren’t in prison, hadn’t reoffended, three had been engaged in activities that supported them not to reoffend and stuff like that, so, yeah, that's was this was saying.
Yeah, and as the quotes are saying, yeah, they had no timeframe for coming out so one of the things that -- and I think others can chime in here, those that were speaking with people in youth justice residence was some of the issues that were coming forward and most of you that work in this space would know this too, is that if you're asking around what goals young people might have once they, you know, do their time or do whatever their duration of their tenure in those places are, if they don’t know how long they're in there for because there's not sentencing, the sentence is still coming up, then you know, that's what's on top, they can't sort of engage in any sort of aspirational well, that's what they're saying anyway, until they know where they are in regards to a sentence that's yet to be passed. So that was something that was coming up in terms of what was getting in the way of that sort of forward planning and what else can happen outside of that.
Yeah, so, in terms of hononga, what enabled them to be crime free was practical motivational support from whānau. So, I know that I think Deb and Cheyenne might have had those that sort of did come out of that and engage with really good support systems with their teina that allowed them to not sort of re-engage in any crime and stay crime free, if you want to call it that. Yeah, and so, that was enablers, so whānau support. I know that mahi was definitely something that came through that supported them to stay crime free. Yeah, and the ārahitanga or the guidance and connections. I think there's a synergy there about supporting them to get mahi, was definitely helpful.
A good sort of source of them being able to get mahi. So mahi, I would say that parenthood also supported that idea. I know for one of the teina that I was working with, the fact that the whānau in terms of kāinga, the partners whānau had taken the young person in and very prioritising whānau and looking after pēpi and partner, and then the whānau that they were staying with offered him up work, so he was able to work with the whānau, still be able to stay with the whānau and then they were sort of a bit removed from the nucleus of the community where a lot of the vibrant types of activities might happen that would sort of draw him back. He felt he really noticed that that was something that supported him to stay away from the crime sort of related sort of activities. Yeah, so, that was something that was really enabling.
And in terms of manaaki, yeah, I mean as Cheyenne had eluded to before in terms of hauora, that, you know, access and intentionally coming forward and accessing these things like counselling and verbal rehabilitation and any negative connections to uplift self, either (Māori Language spoken) that was definitely an enabler to support them from staying crime free.
And then, if I could chuck it out there that in terms of what got in the way of staying crime free was the poor transition planning. As I've got there in ārahitanga, that was definitely the challenges, poor representation from advocacy and advice level and, yeah, and I suppose it's already been mentioned, the inconsistency or the confusion around the kaitiakitanga or the different support systems and not knowing who does what and then if everyone's doing -- if there's a lot -- a lot of people not doing a lot then (Māori language spoken). So, yeah.
Yeah, kia ora, Eugene. Just to add, probably on not such a good note actually, just to emphasise that, you know, those that were in prison were significantly more isolated from their whānau, obviously, but the importance of that four rangatahi, there could have been more support around that connection, those connections with their whānau on the outside. Those unsafe situations that they ended up in inside as well in isolation due to fights and things like that. So those are some of the not-so-great journeys that some of our rangatahi had to go through.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
Kia ora, thanks. We do have a question on this. When looking at crime free, did you also look at reductions in severity or frequency?
Well, this is largely listening to the whakaaro and kōrero of rangatahi, so it wasn’t a specific thing that we were looking at quantitative information or anything like that. And so, no, because we didn’t follow up, we weren’t able to follow up those that started -- you know, that we interviewed earlier and then didn’t catch up with later, so there's not that comparison.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
More generally though you can see, if you look at the report, through the stories that the rangatahi shared, you can see what contributed to those that had a reduction or changed their lives and those that were continuing or still in, within that system. So that's kind of reflected generally in the report, if you can have a look at that.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
There's another question. Did we interview about the Police/Court journey? Did that come up?
Not specifically, but it did come up in terms of talking to whānau about the not great experience of a particular rangatahi in the court system and needing much more advocacy in that position. And luckily, having the support of a social worker to provide a cultural assessment and advocate for him, which meant that he was able to get a reduction in his sentence. However, more could have been done if it had been earlier and the whānau were needing, obviously, that support as well and that understanding for themselves to support that rangatahi.
I had a couple of teina that talked about Youth Court and talked to rangatahi. Yeah, mixed experiences, some good, not so good. And even whānau that had -- not that we -- oh, I was able to talk very briefly with a whānau and they were sort of in two minds too around the benefits of either/or.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
This is my side to speak to. This is one of my favourite bits of the study, where we, across the three teams, we all asked the rangatahi a Likert scale question about how things were going for them, and this comes from a -- from the VOYCEs teams in Oranga Tamariki which developed a certainty scale so that it's really useful for tamariki of all ages to be able to answer. So I'd ask them about something in particular and it says, "How definitive are you about where you stand on this?" So, we use this scale, and we ask the rangatahi, "How do you think things are going for you?" or, "Overall, since leaving care do you feel things are going okay?" And we ask this in year two and year three. And so what I really like about our findings with this is that most rangatahi say things are going well for them. And increasingly over time, they become more definitive that things are going okay.
So in year two, eight people said things were definitely going okay, and that was eight out of I think around 22 people, and in year three, we had 11 saying things are definitely going okay, so it increased. This study here shows -- this slide here shows it's the same 19 people and the reason we've showed the two years for the same nineteen is that it's -- it just shows for these people it's -- things are becoming more settled and they're becoming increasingly confident. The reason there's only nineteen out of the twenty-four who participated in year three is that not everyone answers the question in year two and year three, for different reasons.
For example, some interviews had to be done over the phone, and this was challenging. Some people had significant disabilities and so we didn’t ask the question in both the year, we couldn’t quite get a clear answer. So, anyway nineteen people said, yes. I mean, nineteen people answered in both years and it's across the two years, in their first year after leaving care and in their second year after care, people are generally being more positive and in both years around 80%, or over 80% in year two. In this year's one, in their second year of leaving care, things are going okay. So we're really please about that, and that sort of puts the study in context, in that despite these challenges that are going on for people, most are saying things are going okay, and they're becoming more definitive over time.
Kia ora, Damian. Yeah, this is mine. So, with this slide, we're almost up to our key takeaways, which is cool. But we just wanted to take the opportunity before we get into that to really drive home what we did observe as those key challenges for rangatahi across our cohort. And so although, yes, some of those Likert scale results were quite positive, we don’t want it to take away from the real challenges that rangatahi shared with us throughout their transition journeys.
As we talked about earlier in terms of the context of rangatahi within our cohort, we were aware of a lot of that context before starting our project. There's a lot of research already out there that speaks about a lot of those hardships and statistics, you know, it paints a pretty grim picture. But in our research we were able to draw out some of those stories and examples and that just demonstrated to us just how difficult it can be for young people to navigate those struggles and also their transition journeys when they don’t have the right support behind them. And as we've said here, like many were showing resilience, a lot of resilience despite what they were dealing with. Many were empowering themselves with their sense of manaaki, but at the same time it was quite beyond what, you know, perhaps what most other rangatahi are required to do or are expected to do.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
Kia ora, kia ora, Cheyenne. This is pretty much our last slide and it's not rocket science. Everyone probably on this presentation today would understand that these are experiences that they probably know well from rangatahi, but I think our report just kind of gives that voice and those examples of the reality for our rangatahi, rather than this being something new. But just to emphasise some of these things that we think were key, is the -- obviously the connections that rangatahi have as a strong enabler and some of those, there was a question from Tina about connection to whakapapa, Te ao Māori, Te Reo, we could do a lot better in this space and we need to do a lot better. So, that's one takeaway.
Hononga across all of these areas is important. How are we going to make that happen for rangatahi who are disconnected or moving into transitioning into new spaces for themselves. A key takeaway is that, yes, there was some good supports there from transition support services and social workers, some great, great work being done, but probably 50% of the rangatahi or so, would have experienced very little support or no support. In fact, only one in five, I think, at the beginning had a transition worker. So even with a transition worker, what is required is more responsive, timely and consistent support. We need to be, kind of, more persistent with this cohort. We can't just, kind of, meet them every so often and think that that's going to be enough. We actually need to be more in their lives and actually follow up more, be more consistent, be there when they need it, so when they're calling you and they can't get hold of you after a couple of days, that's probably -- they're onto something else, but something has happened, right. So, yeah, so being quite responsive is important.
We found that the support that disability -- those with disability were getting quite a good wrap around support, would also be useful for these rangatahi and wrapping more around these rangatahi. And supporting those stable environments, living environments in the first instance. And understanding that rangatahi will go between different living environments, so, you know, when one breaks down, they need support to get into the next one. And we're going to have to expect that that's going to happen. So we can't just go, yeah, they've got a good place to stay, we'll see you in a year, because in that year, there were about four or fives moves that the rangatahi made and had to navigate for themselves.
So those are a few of the takeaways, just that there are still major gaps in the supports for these rangatahi transitioning and, I mean, I know the transition service has now been going for a few years, so hopefully we’ve actually got some different rangatahi that have been able to get that positive support in there, but my takeaway is, I would encourage much more persistent and consistent support for our rangatahi in this space, transitioning. I'll just hand it over to the team to add their whakaaro.
Kia ora tatou. I'm just going to answer (Māori language spoken). Yeah, and Cheyenne maybe, could speak to this. And that's just for myself and the young people that I engage with, they -- none of them were actually (Māori language spoken). So, yeah, the majority of those, actually if not all, were quite disconnected from that āhuatanga. So that's one, just a answer, yeah.
And in terms of the (Māori language spoken) in the stories, there was excerpts of how that connection was made and for one of mine, he wasn’t brought up in that hononga, but being with his partner and their whānau supported him to be engaged in the marae, the mahi at the marae (Māori language spoken).
So the framework itself doesn’t specify how that hononga can be done, but I definitely think in terms of the practicalities and the -- around how hononga can be enhanced to those aspects would definitely be part of the mahi. But, however, in the stories, yeah, the support for the hononga, ki te whenua, ki te whanau, whakapapa reo, it was the connections to those that did have the ability to access Te ao Māori and support them along their way, yeah. I don’t know. But I think Cheyenne might have had a -- might have been or whaea Cath,
DR CATHERINE LOVE:
Well, I would say that the majority of mine were not well connected. And the exception was, for instance, a young exception, a young man who, you know, was in the care of his nan and was -- and his aunties all wrapped around him, wrapped around him and he had gone to a Māori boarding school and it showed, you know, that he felt very secure in his identity and his cultural knowledge, yeah. But most really didn’t. And there was the odd one too, who thought they were Māori but didn’t know, with a father that wasn’t in the picture and was unknown, yeah, that was a really hard place to be.
Yeah, I can add to that as well. One rangatahi comes to mind for me. So, she -- in her background of care and protection she had been disconnected or, I guess, uplifted or, you know, her background was with her Māori whānau and then she had been then placed with her whānau who are non-Māori, her Pākehā whānau. And within her own experience or how she felt about it was that she -- that lead her to not feel interested in connecting back to her whakapapa and her whānau. And it was quite interesting observing, when we're talking to rangatahi about this, you know, sometimes their āhua would change and each year I'd gently kind of bring it back up with her and she would, you know, quite obviously clamp down, so it was quite a uncomfortable space for her. So it was also riding those lines, or trying to gently probe and build on those -- the connection we had made with rangatahi and also trying not to push too far into a space where they were really uncomfortable or to get mamae.
Another observation from down here. A lot of my rangatahi I interviewed, were either in, kind of, Waitaha, Canterbury area or a little bit further out and for those of those -- those of them, sorry, who were not -- didn’t whakapapa to Kāi Tahu but had whakapapa connecting them back up to the North Island, that was also a challenge, if they weren’t having that support because it wasn’t on their back doorstep as well. So, I felt a lot of them were geographically disconnected too so, yeah, those were kind of my observations in our region. Kia ora.
Kia ora, kia ora.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
Yes, there's a couple of questions here, which I'm keen to respond to. Firstly, "What are you doing, what are you planning to do with this? What practical outcomes can be implemented that have real work effects?" So thank you for that question.
I can speak from an evaluation perspective and then we've got Sarah Ashton, the general manager or the transition service here as well, who might be able to provide some insight.
From an evaluation perspective, we -- or from a research perspective, this research sits alongside the evaluation and -- which is all providing feedback into this service from year one of the service. So we've been regularly providing feedback about rangatahi not being aware of their entitlements for the new service or being aware of how the service works. And this is being supported by the evaluation and the transition service each year does a response to this feedback that we give and that is often around -- or early on it was around strengthening the planning and preparation of rangatahi, making sure they knew about their entitlements, so expect that to be improving each year.
And also, you know, there's a telephone line that -- making sure the young people know about that before they leave care. So there's supports like that, we're working with MSD to improve, say for example emergency housing, how they respond to our rangatahi. So there's a bunch of things going on but, Sarah, are you around at all to speak to this question about what are the practical effects that we can do as an organisation?
Yeah, kia ora, thanks Damian. Yeah, I mean, certainly acknowledging that the young people as part of this research didn’t get the level of transition support at all that we would expect and it's not waiting until the very end that we act on these, so I've had the ability to meet with the researchers each year at the end of their sense making hui to be able to hear these insights. We also have annual Just Saying rangatahi survey. We've got this year's one in the field at the moment. Last year's heard from over four hundred rangatahi, so that helps to inform what we're doing as well.
As Damian said, you know, I think a lot for these young people, they were engaged with the service very early on in the implementation of transition support. And I think at that time we really struggled to get social workers aware of what was available and to engage young people with the support. There's been a lot of work over the past few years to raise awareness with our frontline around the transition obligations and the transition processes. We can see year on year more young people being engaged with the supports that they need.
For our transition worker services, we know for the last Just Saying survey that 81% of young people were saying that the transition worker makes things better for them but it's that consistency and quality of support that we're really focusing on. And there seems to be particularly issues around where a transition worker leaves and periods of no contact or maybe a different level of support when another transition worker comes on board. So at the moment we have just started doing monthly online induction trainings for new transition workers, to make really clear the intent of the service and the level of support that we expect.
And whilst we spent a lot of time trying to make social workers more aware and we have resources for young people that's still reliant on the social worker talking to the young person and providing the right information and providing those resources and I think what really struck me with this final report. There's lots of the things that the young people were talking about that they needed support with that they could still receive through transition services. So for all of those young people, they're still entitled to advice and assistance. We have our transition assistance helpline team.
There were things that they were struggling to fund themselves that are the types of things that we fund every day. So at the moment we're developing a letter of entitlement that will go to young people that makes really clear what their entitlements are, what that support looks like, how they can access it, but I think most importantly, who to contact if they're not getting that support, because we do have our team at the transition assistance helpline, it's a dedicated phone number, we've got no wait times on that line and they can provide support to young people if they're not getting their needs met as they should be and to make sure that they're reconnecting them into that support.
The other area, I mean, as Damian was saying, I think transition planning, having adequate transition planning happening prior to leaving care has been really an enduring challenge throughout the implementation of the service. So again, we've worked to try and strengthen that at the frontline, but at the moment we're also developing a new life skills assessment tool that can better support rangatahi to be able to identify the life skills that they need, set goals and to be shared with the important people in their lives.
So there's quite a bit of work underway at the moment, but really want to acknowledge the researchers and the work that they did and acknowledge the young people that shared their experiences as well.
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
Thanks Sarah, it's been awesome, you and the advisory group coming and meeting with the research team when we have our face-to-face hui. So we've really appreciated that along the way. There's one more question, which I thought would be really useful for our researchers to respond to. The question is, "Based on your research, what would one recommendation be that we should focus on?" and I think that by "we" they mean Oranga Tamariki.
DR CATHERINE LOVE:
I'll just quickly say, that there was a large, large amount of distrust or disappointment in the performance of social workers and social workers being changed and social workers not following through with the young people and that's the thing that I think needs to be changed.
DR DEBBIE GOODWIN:
Kia ora, kia ora Cath, I agree with that. I think there could be much more done to provide the cultural connection support that rangatahi, when they're ready to and they have to be kind of ready to do that, but when they are ready there's kind of, it's very difficult for them to be connected up. So if we can do that a bit more.
But the other thing I'd like to add is, it's great to have the transition support service, but the relationship with the rangatahi is the thing that needs to be established and everyone knows this, but if that's not going as well as it could from the beginning, you may not be able to support the rangatahi where they need it. So, if we can get that part right, and that might just be listening to rangatahi's stories to start with, rather than going in with the assessments and things like that, because they're kind of used to that. What they'd probably would like to do is have a kōrero with you and I'm sure that a lot of the transition support workers do do that. So I would encourage to continue to do that. What about you guys, Cheyenne?
Yeah, I definitely agree with what's already been said. I think what popped into my mind, and this might, you know, this might -- this is probably quite already on the radar, especially with you Sarah. But it was -- for me it was about that handover. So, a lot of rangatahi, they said, you know, "oh, I finally got a really good social worker and I really like so and so", and then that relationship sometimes just ended and they were just passed off to this transition worker and they didn’t have any relationship built up.
So for me it would be about, you know, where practicable, trying to build that connection before it's time for them to be handed over or to be transitioned over to someone new, so that it's done with someone who they trust and it, you know, might well be quite bumpy at the start, and so it's really held and structured and supported.
That's something I think a lot of the rangatahi that I spoke to, if that had been done for some of them, I think that that would have had a positive start to their relationship with this new person. Sometimes it was just a gap, you know, now they -- they're -- and some of them felt like they couldn’t reach back out to their social worker that they had previously had, that that time was over now and now they just had to talk to this new person that maybe they don’t know, maybe it hasn’t been a good start. So, yeah, that would be a key thing for me.
Kia ora, yeah, just quickly. I think when we're thinking about, you know, where they're at in terms of their age. Like, I think, connection with relevant services and really the offering and supporting that engagement with those aspects that support, you know (Māori language spoken) those aspects in their lives.
At a time and a place and at a place of these rangatahi, because there's priorities. Because I'm thinking about the -- it's different from our taitamariki, in terms of the teenage sort of space where they might have a bit more time and the priorities aren’t as much that they can have access and time for these community initiatives or mahi tahi or stuff like that.
At that age, 18, someone sit along someone that knows, you know, again, I mean, it's the same as what Deb was talking about in terms of the touch points from someone key in terms of that catalyst, that key catalyst for those different aspects. That that be sort of really enhanced, maybe the intensity or the regularity, frequency, needs to be up. But that person, that (Māori language spoken) is connected themselves to the space, so the connection and engagement is seamless. They know of the -- they have connections themselves to support the connection for the (Māori language spoken). Yeah, so, yeah (Māori language spoken).
DR DAMIAN O'NEILL:
This is our big thanks to the wonderful rangatahi who participated in the study. We take our hats off, they're absolutely awesome. The report is going to be published soon, we are going to feedback to the rangatahi. Each year we give them feedback on what we learnt, what their awesome contributions lead to, and we will let them know what we're doing as a result as well.
(Māori language spoken). So, yeah, just to whakakapi and hope everyone goes well and look, you've got the link there if you want more information, you've got Damian's number, ring him up. (Māori language spoken).