The Transition Service team at Safer Mid Canterbury provide practical support to assist rangatahi, aged between 15 and 25, to achieve their goals as they move towards independence, adulthood and well-being.
Why do we need a Transition Service?
It is understood that young people leaving care, or youth justice residences, are some of the most vulnerable in New Zealand. They are more likely to have complex health needs, experience insufficient housing and need support engaging with education and employment.
On 1 July 2019, amended legislative provisions in the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, relating to transition support, came into effect. It places a legal requirement on Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children to provide a service that supports young people who are leaving care or a youth justice placement.
To be eligible, a young person has to have been in a care and protection placement; or a residential youth justice placement (including detention); or police custody under remand; or a prison sentence in the adult justice system, for at least three months before turning 18.
Young people who meet the criteria, but have already left a care and protection placement, and who have turned 18 after 1 July 2019, are also entitled to be supported to remain or return to living with a caregiver until they turn 21. All those eligible can receive advice and assistance until the age of 25.
What does the Service mean for young people?
The Mid Canterbury Transition Service offers valuable opportunities for young people to form relationships with caregivers and other trusted adults. Support is also available to maintain and strengthen whānau, hapū, iwi, and family group relationships. During their time with the Service, young people are encouraged to lead decisions about matters affecting them (in collaboration with adult advice). Access is also available to government and community support.
We know as young people transition toward independence the following are important:
- The support of whānau and community;
- The relationship between the young person and their caregiver, trusted adults, and the wider community;
- Support to address the impact of harm;
- Support to achieve and meet aspirations and needs.
Priority is also given to encouraging a stable education.