Community help

Onerahi remand home

More information about the project to establish a community-based home for lower-risk young people aged 14 to 17 who are involved in the youth justice system. 

Why is this happening?

Too many young people are spending time in Police cells or Youth Justice residences away from their whānau and community in the period between their arrest and court hearing. We know this increases their risk of re-offending.

In response, we've set up community-based remand homes in Palmerston North and Dunedin, and now, Whangarei.

What is a remand home?

The home will provide an alternative option for lower-risk young people between 14 and 17 years old who are placed in the custody of Oranga Tamariki by the Youth Court.

It will be a safe and stable environment where they can receive the support they need to make positive life changes and transition back to their communities.

There will be no more than five young people in the home at once, and they could stay for around four-to-six weeks and sometimes shorter periods.

Why Tainui Street?

We know that to get the best long-term outcomes for our tamariki in Te Tai Tokerau we need to keep them connected to their whānau and community. Having a community-based remand home in Onerahi will enable this. The young people will also be able to access a range of support services through, for example, the health and education sectors.

Our home on Tainui Street has been utilised by us, and Child, Youth, and Family for many years, to support our children and young people. We want to acknowledge the Onerahi community for working with us to make a positive difference in the lives of children and young people.

All New Zealanders share the responsibility to find ways to help our young people thrive and achieve their full potential. That doesn’t change when young people make poor decisions.

Is a remand home safe?

It’s important to us that the home is a safe place.

Before a young person is placed in the home they will be assessed on a range of areas such as the level and nature of their offending, their mental health, and any concerning behaviours. We will use this information to determine whether it is safe for the young person, for the Onerahi community, for other young people in the home, and for our staff, to place them in the home.

We will put in place security and safety measures to protect the young people in the home and to reduce the risk to the community. The young people will not be able to leave the home without supervision from staff members, and if they do, it is an offence and the Police will be contacted ASAP.  We will have a process in place with the Police to ensure a fast and effective response.

All staff in the home including caregivers and their relievers, and support workers, will be professionally trained to meet the needs of these young people.

What will tamariki in the remand home be doing?

They will be supported to work alongside their whānau, our staff and other service providers, towards achieving safety, security, stability and wellness. There will be an emphasis on te ao Māori in the home.

A typical day might include school lessons from 8.45am-2.45pm, sports and cultural activities, group outings, whānau visits, meal preparation, homework, and time to relax.

Tamariki will have time to work with our staff and other professionals and mentors to make positive attitude and behaviour changes and plan for their futures. They could also complete volunteer work to connect them to the community and enable them to contribute to it.

Who else will be involved?

We will work with people in the community, Police, iwi, and a range of health, education and other service providers to ensure the young people’s needs are met and they are connected to a range of services and potential mentors.

What next?

  • We are aiming to have the home ready to support young people in Te Tai Tokerau by June. Until then, we will utilise the home for emergency placements of children and young people in our care.
  • We are working to identify the best-suited service provider to run the remand home on our behalf.
  • There will be another opportunity for people to meet some of the staff involved and ask us questions during an open home event next month.
    We will confirm the details closer to the date.