Focused support for rangatahi
Two tamariki with extreme disabilities are prospering in their supported home, and we are working with other organisations and community members to ensure their intensive needs continue to be met.
Working differently to improve outcomes
The two teenage boys have disabilities including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and had been suffering due to a lack of stability in their lives.
Not able to live with whānau, they had spent time in our residences and supervised group homes in other parts of New Zealand, but their intensive needs were not being fully met.
So our staff collaborated with NZCare to open a disability-supported house in the Auckland region and the two boys were chosen to be the first residents.
"The boys have settled quickly and are now getting on with a positive life"
A home to suit their needs
They moved there in May and following a settling-in period, the boys now call it their home, says Site Manager Jaymee Wells.
“As expected from the start there has been a need for extremely high levels of support to create an environment that suits the rangatahi. We are very satisfied that the two rangatahi are now settled. They have connected to the NZCare staff in the house, formed strong, responsive relationships, and are involved in their community while staying in contact with their whānau.”
One of the young people has a job in a local shop, and staff, community members and store management are all involved in a supervision plan to ensure he progresses in his work. The other young person is enrolled with Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (The Correspondence School), and a day programme is being developed for him with input from the Ministry of Education.
FASD training ensures effective support
Staff in the home are utilising their training with the FASD Centre Aotearoa, and are better prepared and equipped to provide support to the boys, says Jaymee.
“Staff were initially fearful, but are now confident in the types of responses that will help the boys get on with what they’re good at, and are able to help them solve their problems before they escalate.”
Local police officers have also received FASD training – an initiative led by the Ministry’s Regional Disability Advisor, Rose Hawkins. Police initially became involved because of behavioural outbursts from the boys while they were adapting to their environment, but are now not needed to respond to day-to-day incidents and are playing a part in mentoring the rangatahi.
Child-centred approach across sectors
A governance group involving Oranga Tamariki, NZCare and Police is working on a programme to ensure responses to any future behavioural issues are done collaboratively.
However, there have been no incidents in the past month, which is a huge improvement and a reflection of the amazing work staff are doing with these tamariki, Rose Hawkins says.
“By working collaboratively and gradually bringing everyone onto the same page, we were able to utilise training on FASD and implement a child-centred approach. The boys have settled quickly and are now getting on with a positive life.”
The right support is in place, and the team is looking to introduce another young person into the home.