The New Zealand Maori Council has called the Governments newly announced investment of $150 million to support at risk children a good start in the right direction. Council Executive Director, Matthew Tukaki, has said that breaking the circuit when it comes to inter-generational exposure to the State Care and Protection system is one of the only ways “we are going to achieve real change”.
Minister Martin made the announcement in Auckland today with a $150 million will be spent on a new service to help young people transition from state care to adulthood. The transition support service is expected to help about 3000 young people over the next four years. Oranga Tamariki will be tasked with the building the service but Tukaki has said this is the opportunity for Iwi and Hap, Maori social and health services to really get involved:
“What we need to do is design programs that are able to support our own young people, mentor them, guide them and move through to adulthood. Its imperative that Maori are in the driving seat with this new program.” Tukaki said.
“What we need to be mindful of is that often-young people have been through some terrible situations and trauma and they don’t often have the life skills to move past what they have confronted and borne witness to. By enabling and empowering them we are going to start that journey through to independence and lifelong success that we want them to enjoy.” Tukaki said
"We have a long way to go, we need more systems reform and we need a greater say at the table. Some would even argue we need our own table. But; what we have here is the start of a journey and along the way more hard and tough decisions will need to be made. We must never shy away from the need for more reform. We must never shy away from the task at hand - at this is our tamariki, our rangatahi and our whanau." Tukaki said
Minister Martin said “"This service will provide that, both by allowing young people to stay longer with their caregivers and providing specialised transitions support workers whose job is to help this group."
"This was a deliberate decision. The service is voluntary and we want young people to engage with it. Oranga Tamariki hasn't generally worked with 18-25 year olds, but its community partners already have a youth focus and capability to work with this group."
Nearly 30 percent of children in care have parents who had also been in care
The new services include:
175 new specialist transition support staff by year four providing day-to-day support to individual young people as they transition out of care
60 supported accommodation places by year four for young people who need a stepping stone to make a successful transition to independent living
$25m over four years to support arrangements for young people to continue to live with their caregiver beyond the age of 18
$9m over four years to provide advice and assistance to individual young people transitioning from care to independence, up to the age of 25.