Youth Justice Community Homes

Being able to stay connected to their family, whānau and community gives young people going through the youth justice system a better chance of getting back on track.

Youth Justice Community Homes look like other homes in their neighbourhood with a few functional differences to ensure the health and safety of staff, young people or rangatahi, visiting whānau or families and social service providers, victims of youth crime and the local community.

Oranga Tamariki staff assess and work with the young people or rangatahi and their whānau or family, and with the people running the home, to ensure that the Community Home is an appropriate placement. For bail and remand placements, local Police will also be part of that process and an order will be made by a Judge.

Mostly young people come into these homes for a short time: usually just a few weeks while they are waiting for courts to approve a less restrictive option, such as with whānau or family. The courts usually determine that the young person should return to their community.

About community homes

Having Community Homes throughout the country enables:

  • a young person or rangatahi who has offended or is alleged to have offended to remain close to their community, with travelling times for many young people significantly reduced
  • whānau or families to remain connected, with physical visits hopefully made easier
  • local judiciary to be provided with a safe and effective option for remanding young people into our custody
  • existing engagement with social service providers to continue, and for a young person or rangatahi and their whānau or family to form new relationships with services that can continue once the young person has left our custody
  • Aotearoa New Zealand to meet the United Nations standard of young people accessing the least restrictive placement appropriate
  • a reduction in demand for places in our secure Residences and to minimise the number of young people entering the Residences for short stays.

Developing a residential service with, and for, communities

The 2015 Expert Advisory Panel stated in its Report that young people or rangatahi need to be in the care of their local communities wherever possible and for those young people who offend to be in the least restrictive placement appropriate.

When Oranga Tamariki was established in April 2017, residential options for young people who have or who are alleged to have offended included four Group Homes in Auckland and Hillcrest Home in Hamilton, which provided Supervision with Activity with a residential component. Most rangatahi or young people who required a residential placement were placed into one of four secure Residences that ranged upwards in capacity from 30 beds.

In 2017, Oranga Tamariki opened three community homes. Since 2018, we have supported community organisations to develop and operate residential services that support their aspirations and reflect their communities.  

What has resulted is a diverse residential service:

  • Some services are managed by our larger Residences, while others may receive support or training from staff at those Residences or have no connection with the Residences.
  • Some support bail placements only, providing a safe place for rangatahi when they cannot be bailed to their current home address.
  • Some are managed directly by Oranga Tamariki, while others are run in partnership with local organisations, who have local networks and experience.
  • Some are run by hapū, iwi or Māori organisations, including iwi-based social service organisations and rūnanga.
  • Some services build on what has gone before, like the addition of new services provided by the team at Hillcrest Home, while some are entirely new services delivered from homes acquired specifically for the service.
  • The majority of services are provided from homes with three to five bedrooms, while others, like Mahuru, provide support for young people on a one-to-one basis.

A national, nationwide network

Legacy Homes that predate Oranga Tamariki

  • Boys Lighthouse in Auckland (operated by Youth Horizons Trust Kia Puawai)
  • College Road in Auckland (Reconnect Family Services Limited)
  • Girls Lighthouse in Auckland (Youth Horizons Trust Kia Puawai)
  • Haumia Way in Auckland (Reconnect Family Services Limited)

Oranga Tamariki-run Community Homes

  • Hillcrest Home in Hamilton
  • Te Kohanga in Rotorua
  • Te Whare Awhi in Palmerston North
  • Will Street Whare in Dunedin

Community Homes run by social service providers

  • Aufua Ie Taeao in Auckland (Emerge Aotearoa)
  • Mahuru in Kaikohe (Ngāpuhi Iwi Social Services)
  • Te Kaika Whakaaroaro in Invercargill (PACT and Waihōpai Rūnaka)
  • Te Wharau o te Tairawhiti in Gisborne (Turanga Social Services)
  • Te Whare Manaaki in Napier (Te Ikaroa Rangatahi Social Services)
  • Te Whare Pūmau Mana in Havelock North (Te Ikaroa Rangatahi Social Services)
  • Whare Matariki in Tauranga (Te Tuinga Whānau Support Services Trust)
  • Whare Tauhuru in Tauranga (Te Tuinga Whānau Support Services Trust)
  • Whare Tiaki in Nelson (Whakatū Marae)
  • Whare Tuhua in Tauranga (Te Tuinga Whānau Support Services Trust)

Published: May 13, 2022