It is a fact that many offenders in cases of serious crime in New Zealand are people who are young or who have had a criminal record since a young age. It is our goal to ensure that we give the best start and opportunity to our young people and attempt to provide the best possible opportunities for them to have a successful and vibrant life.
It is UnitedFuture policy to:
- Improve access to effective parenting programmes for a wider range of parents and parenting stages;
- Expand the Social Workers in Schools Programme beyond decile 1-3 schools;
- Use reparations, electronic monitoring and work on community projects (e.g. removing graffiti, house construction) as initial sentencing options for youth offenders, established through contracts drawn up between the police, the offender and their family, and backed up by harsher supervision for compliance failures;
- Support NGO mentoring programmes, such as the Buddy programme, whereby at-risk youth lacking responsible role models are in regular contact with others in the community who can have a positive influence on their behaviour, and the behaviour of their families;
- Increase the number of truancy officers, especially in areas with persistent high rates of truancy;
- Resource alternative education providers to work with at-risk youth who have dropped out of mainstream schooling;
- Ensure that schools implement anti-bullying strategies, safe classroom programmes and anti-drug policies in consultation with the police and other agencies;
- Increase funding for appropriate early intervention supervision and diversionary programmes for youth at risk;
- Foster co-operation and information sharing between police, courts, schools, community groups and social services when dealing with at-risk families and youth;
- Increase funding for adult literacy programmes, and ensure that every community education centre runs such programmes;
By implementing these policies, we believe we can make sure our children and families are on the best path to a successful life, filled with all of the opportunities New Zealand has to offer.