The Wellbeing Budget

Improving child wellbeing

Breaking the cycle for children in State care, part 2

Improved support for tamariki Māori

A key objective of the new operating model is whether it delivers improved outcomes and reduced disparities for tamariki Māori, who make up 70 percent of children and young people in care.

"The vast majority of Māori children and their whānau have no need for assistance from Oranga Tamariki. However, rangatahi and tamariki are over-represented in both the care and youth justice systems. We need to ensure that they receive appropriate care and support – including being connected to their whānau and culture," Tracey Martin says.

"This is not just about spending more money on care and protection. To achieve better outcomes for Māori children and their whānau, Oranga Tamariki will use this investment to work in very different ways."

The Ministry will work differently – both with individual tamariki and whānau, and at a system level – and build on its strategic partnerships and relationships with iwi and Māori organisations. New funding will support this and allow:

  • Māori specialist roles, including Kairāranga and Iwi Family Group Conference co‑ordinators
  • new Whānau Care Partnerships with iwi and Māori organisations providing models for the development and support of caregivers.

Youth justice

Legislative changes mean most 17-year-olds will be included in the youth justice system, instead of the adult system, from 1 July 2019.

The Wellbeing Budget provides extra funding to make this successful and support the extra numbers of young people in the system, with an increased focus on education, training and rehabilitation.

"Over the last year Oranga Tamariki has built and successfully run four new community-based remand homes that take a more therapeutic approach to youth justice. These young people need the chance to get skills and to live responsibly in society," Tracey Martin says.

Up to 16 of these small, community-based homes will be built over four years, contributing to 100 additional youth justice placements. An extra 300 staff – youth workers, night care workers and team leaders – will work in these facilities.

Transition services

The Wellbeing Budget also establishes a new service from 1 July 2019 to support young people to transition successfully from care and youth justice into adulthood.

"It is time to recognise the special responsibility we have for the young people leaving the State's care," Tracey Martin says.

"For too long they have been left to fend for themselves with little support, in a way we would never accept for our own children when they leave home.

"For these young people, the transition to adulthood often comes early, abruptly, and with little in the way of a safety net. It has been a huge hole in our system of care that young people didn't have this support. It's time to fix that."

A new nationwide Transition Support Service will grow to 175 staff whose role is to stand alongside young people to prepare for this important transition, respond to their needs as they leave care and help them gain their independence. It will provide advice and assistance, after-hours support and broker services like housing support.

"It has been a huge hole in our system of care that young people didn't have this support. Over the first four years of the service we expect it to support around 3,000 young people," Tracey Martin says.

The $153.7 million initiative also allows for young people to continue to live with a caregiver after they turn 18 – something they have not been able to do before – and provides supported accommodation places for young people who need a stepping stone to independent living.

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