Source: (2002) Wellington, NZ: Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Development.

This Strategy represents 18 months of collective effort across Government. It encompasses the recommendations made by the Ministerial Taskforce on Youth Offending in its Final Report. It outlines, in a very practical way, how Government plans to respond to youth offending. The Strategy builds on the strengths of the existing youth justice system and addresses its shortcomings. It retains the foundations established by the 1989 Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act, including the use of Police diversion whenever appropriate, Family Group Conferences (FGCs), and the separation of youth offenders from the adult criminal justice system as much as possible. It is these foundations that make New Zealand a world leader in youth justice. It is clear, however, that improvements are required. There is concern about cases of very serious offending by young people. There often seems to be an uncoordinated, or ad hoc approach, to addressing the multiple problems of youth offenders. And there is a need for more effective implementation of FGC plans to hold youth offenders accountable. The Strategy makes a range of recommendations in these areas. New programmes and initiatives are being implemented to respond to serious recidivist youth offenders. We will be introducing Youth Offending Teams to ensure a co-ordinated approach to youth offending including, for the first time, the formal involvement of health and education agencies. And improvements will be made to FGC processes, including the consistent monitoring and implementation of FGC plans, and ensuring that those participating in FGCs, particularly victims of youth offenders, are well prepared and supported. (excerpt)

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