Youth Justice Community Homes

Being able to stay connected to their whānau and community gives rangatahi going through the youth justice system a better chance of getting back on track.

Youth Justice Community Homes look like other homes in their neighbourhood with a few functional differences to ensure the health and safety of kaimahi, rangatahi, visiting whānau and social service providers, victims of youth crime and the local community.

Oranga Tamariki kaimahi assess and work with the rangatahi and their whānau, and with the people running the home, to ensure that the Community Home is an appropriate placement. For bail and remand placements, local Police will also be part of that process and an order will be made by a Judge.

Mostly rangatahi come into these homes for a short time: usually just a few weeks while they are waiting for courts to approve a less restrictive option, such as with whānau. The courts usually determine that the rangatahi should return to their community.

About community homes

Having Community Homes throughout the country enables:

  • a rangatahi who has offended or is alleged to have offended to remain close to their community, with travelling times for many rangatahi significantly reduced
  • whānau to remain connected, with physical visits hopefully made easier
  • local judiciary to be provided with a safe and effective option for remanding rangatahi into our custody
  • existing engagement with social service providers to continue, and for a rangatahi and their whānau to form new relationships with services that can continue once the rangatahi has left our custody
  • Aotearoa New Zealand to meet the United Nations standard of rangatahi accessing the least restrictive placement appropriate
  • a reduction in demand for places in our secure Residences and to minimise the number of rangatahi entering the Residences for short stays.

Developing a residential service with, and for, communities

The 2015 Expert Advisory Panel stated in its Report that rangatahi need to be in the care of their local communities wherever possible and for those rangatahi who offend to be in the least restrictive placement appropriate.

When Oranga Tamariki was established in April 2017, residential options for rangatahi who have or who are alleged to have offended included 4 Group Homes in Tāmaki Makaurau and Hillcrest Home in Kirikiriroa, which provided Supervision with Activity with a residential component. Most rangatahi who required a residential placement were placed into one of 4 secure Residences that ranged upwards in capacity from 30 beds.

In 2017, Oranga Tamariki opened 3 community homes. Since 2018, we have supported community organisations to develop and operate residential services that support their aspirations and reflect their communities.  

What has resulted is a diverse residential service:

  • Some services are managed by our larger Residences, while others may receive support or training from kaimahi at those Residences or have no connection with the Residences.
  • Some support bail placements only, providing a safe place for rangatahi when they cannot be bailed to their current home address.
  • Some are managed directly by Oranga Tamariki, while others are run in partnership with local organisations, who have local networks and experience.
  • Some are run by hapū, iwi or Māori organisations, including iwi-based social service organisations and rūnanga.
  • Some services build on what has gone before, like the addition of new services provided by the team at Hillcrest Home, while some are entirely new services delivered from homes acquired specifically for the service.
  • The majority of services are provided from homes with 3 to 5 bedrooms, while others, like Mahuru, provide support for rangatahi on a 1-to-1 basis.

A national, nationwide network

Legacy Homes that predate Oranga Tamariki

  • Hillsborough Lighthouse in Tāmaki Makaurau (operated by Youth Horizons Trust Kia Puāwai).
  • College Road in Tāmaki Makaurau (Reconnect Family Services Limited).
  • Glenmore Lighthouse in Tāmaki Makaurau (Youth Horizons Trust Kia Puāwai).

Oranga Tamariki-run Community Homes

  • Hillcrest Home in Kirikiriroa.
  • Te Kohanga in Rotorua.
  • Te Whare Awhi in Te Papaioea.

Community Homes run by social service providers

  • Teo Aufua Ie Taeao in Tāmaki Makaurau (Emerge Aotearoa).
  • Mahuru in Kaikohe (Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services).
  • Te Kaika Whakaaroaro in Waihōpai (PACT and Waihōpai Rūnaka).
  • Te Wharau o te Tairawhiti in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa (Turanga Social Services).
  • Whare Manaaki in Ahuriri (Te Ikaroa Rangatahi Social Services).
  • Te Whare Pūmau Mana in Havelock North (Te Ikaroa Rangatahi Social Services).
  • Whare Tiaki in Whakatū (Whakatū Marae).
  • Iti Mapihi Pounamu in Karapiro (Te Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa)
  • Te Kaika Whare in Ōtepoti (Ōtākou Health Limited).

Published: September 28, 2023