Working differently, working together
We're working to implement a number of initiatives and projects with our partners.
Supported living trials
We've launched a pilot to provide semi-independent accommodation for young people transitioning out of care.
Young people have told us that they need options for where they can live as they leave care, and social workers have told us there are limited safe, suitable places.
We're working in partnership with providers in select locations to make sure we have the right options available.
The providers will be piloting safe accommodation for young people aged 17-20 years to support the development of life skills, and help with a more gradual transition from fully supported care to independent living.
Mental health initiatives
New mental health initiatives include providing funding to trial enhancements to Gateway assessments.
Ministers Adams and Coleman recently announced 17 mental health initiatives that take a social investment approach to preventing and responding to mental disorders in New Zealand across the life course.
This recognises that these types of problems are very common among the children and young people we work with, and the importance of identifying needs and getting the right supports into place.
This initiative is a demonstration of trauma informed practice and will operate alongside the Access to Services trial, meaning we'll be able to fully identify a child's needs and get them into the right services.
For now the trail sites are Waitemata and Bay of Plenty, and a third site may be added. The trial will start in early 2018.
Māori focused initiatives
There are a number of initiatives underway to build stronger connections with iwi so that children and young people are connected to their whānau and have safe, loving, stable homes.
Early-stage whānau meetings (hui-a-whānau) and whānau searching are being trialled across 21 Ministry sites. Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Rangitāne, Ngāti Raukawa, and Ngāti Toa are also building capability to lead and co-ordinate family group conferences.
Hui-a-whānau provides a way for children, young people and whānau to work together to make decisions and resolve problems. At-risk families will be supported at an earlier stage, and outcomes of family group conferences will be improved.
Whānau searching will help the Ministry engage in a more culturally responsive way. This will lead to children and young people being more likely to be placed with whānau, and developing a sense of belonging and connection.
Feedback and complaints systems
Funding has been made available to support the development and implementation of two new feedback and complaints systems.
We need better systems in place so children and young people can easily share their concerns and provide feedback.
We also want to more effectively resolve any concerns that are raised, and ensure that insights gained are used to improve how we support and care for young people.
We anticipate a new software system being up and running in early to mid-2018.