Source: (2003) New Zealand: Department for Courts.

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989 revolutionised New Zealand youth justice practices, establishing an innovative set of principles and procedures to govern the response to young offenders, and to manage the role of the State in the lives of young people and their families. The founding objective of the legislation is ‘to promote the wellbeing of children, young persons, and their families and family groups’ (section 4). The Act thus seeks to empower families and communities, rather than professionals, in deciding the best measures to respond to offending behaviour in children and young people This report will explore the background to the youth justice provisions of the Act, both internationally and domestically, with the hope that an understanding of the system’s evolution will render a better insight into the principles behind this innovative piece of legislation. (excerpt)

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