Helping the parents of serious young offenders develop the skills and strategies they need to deal with their children is a key step in reducing youth offending, says Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows.
Mr Borrows today visited Genesis Youth Trust, a Manukau based provider that is helping parents develop effective strategies to better manage their young people’s behaviour. Over the last year Genesis has been funded under Fresh Start to deliver 80 parenting courses for parents of young offenders, along with a further 42 mentoring and youth development programmes.
“While most of us focus on happy times we have, or had, with our fathers this Father’s Day, it’s easy to forget that for many of our troubled young people ‘Dad’ isn’t a positive influence in their life, if he’s there at all,” says Mr Borrows.
“By giving parents of young offenders the tools they need to better manage these troubled young people, groups like Genesis are delivering better mums and dads who can make that crucial difference in getting our young offenders back on the right track.”
The Fresh Start package includes funding for 700 parenting placements each year, with an annual investment of $660,728. In the last financial year this included 524 parenting education placements, made up of 29 formal Youth Court orders, 310 other community based placements, and 185 residential based placements.
“While it’s difficult to isolate and measure the impact of parenting programmes distinct from other interventions, the feedback we’re getting from providers like Genesis is that they’re a vital tool in responding to some young offenders. They might not provide the whole solution, but parenting education plays an important part in delivering our commitment to reducing youth crime,” says Mr Borrows.
The Fresh Start reforms were introduced in October 2010. They include a range of policy changes to provide more effective interventions for young offenders, as well as an investment of $84 million over three years in further programmes such as parenting education.