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To: Minister for Children Hon Kelvin Davis

Rule out Residences: Let's do better for our kids

People in Aotearoa want a system where children and young people are nurtured, supported and given the resources they need to thrive. New Zealand needs a system that enables communities to care for their children and young people so that everyone has the resources and ability to reach their full potential and become an active member of society. The well-being of our communities needs to be given the urgency it deserves. Our systems have to change to ensure that children and young people in the care of the state are safe and not further harmed by the very thing that is tasked with caring for them.

1. Develop a clear transition plan towards Aotearoa-New Zealand closing down all Youth Justice, and Care and Protection Residences in the next 2-5 years. This plan must include clear milestones and progress reviews for transparent oversight and monitoring purposes.

2. Prioritise services in communities that offer therapeutic and rehabilitative care options for children and young people.

3. Address the remand of children and young people in custody

Why is this important?

Time and time again, we have reports that tell us Oranga Tamariki residences are not fit-for-purpose and are not meeting the therapeutic needs of children under their care. Many organisations and individuals have raised concerns about Oranga Tamariki residential care. Still, the urgency of these concerns continues to go unaddressed. This is not just a question of which government department is in charge. It is time these facilities are replaced with a new, more effective system that is fundamentally redesigned to centre the complex needs of the children and young people in their care.

Our current system is causing more harm to communities by failing to address the underlying issues that lead to children and young people requiring residential care. Punitive “Tough in crime” approaches to youth crime are holding our country back. We need to build paths that lead young people to better outcomes and address reasons for reoffending by understanding and overcoming issues in a young person's life. It is time these facilities are replaced with a new, more effective system.

New Zealand needs a system in which young people who require care or have offended are being met with rehabilitation and therapeutic methods. We need resources and pathways that help prevent offendings, such as mental health support, educational support and addiction services.

Our communities deserve to have preventative services to ensure we solve the underlying issues that are causing harm. We want to see whānau and community focused solutions making them less reliant on state care.

Having the current workforce trained and upskilled in therapeutic and trauma informed practices will help them support the communities in need better.

We also ask for transparency and accountability from those on top so that when things go wrong policies are set in place that allows for real change to happen

We all want to see our youth thriving and right now they need our support because the current system is failing them. We ask the Government to do better for the next generation and create new community focused rehabilitation services.

References and further reading:
1. Report: How we fail children who offend and what to do about it: ‘A breakdown across the whole system’:
2. Ko Te Wā Whakawhiti, It’s Time for Change - A Māori Inquiry into Oranga Tamariki
3. Young Adults in the Criminal Justice System in Aotearoa New Zealand Young-Adults-in-the-Criminal-Justice-System-in-Aotearoa-NZ-report.pdf (
4. John Campbell on OT youth justice: 'Most of us will never meet kids this broken'



2023-07-14 08:24:51 +1200

100 signatures reached

2023-07-12 13:56:51 +1200

50 signatures reached

2023-07-11 13:01:16 +1200

25 signatures reached

2023-07-11 08:59:44 +1200

10 signatures reached