Child and youth voice research findings

Ngā Haerenga: Voices of rangatahi anticipating the move from statutory care to self-determined living

AUTHOR: Oranga Tamariki

This 2021 research involved interviews with 44 rangatahi who were soon to transition out of care.

Key findings include: 

  • Securing a safe, stable place to live was a top priority for most rangatahi. Being in work, training or education was similarly very important, as was connecting with others such as whānau, former caregivers, friends and community or support organisations.
  • Three broad factors that rangatahi thought would help them to achieve their goals included: 
    • Personal strengths such as being determined, resilient and self-reliant, likeable and having good social skills.
    • Good connections with whānau, current and past caregivers, and various support networks (including Oranga Tamariki’s Transition Support Service) – as well as, for some rangatahi Māori, connections with culture and cultural identity.
    • Security and certainty, including sufficient income and food, stable housing and access to reliable transport.
  • Rangatahi in custody also valued the support and therapeutic, cultural and educational elements of the youth justice residences.
  • Barriers to success were more often talked about than enablers, and there was a wider range. These included:
    • Financial insecurity and uncertainty about the future
    • Personal barriers, including tendencies to withdraw or switch off when stressed or bored
    • Health, disability, mental health and addiction issues
    • Challenging friends and whānau, such as “bad influences”
    • Bias and prejudice
    • Cultural alienation and disconnection from whānau, hapū, iwi and hapori
    • Not understanding entitlements and limited access to services.
  • Rangatahi identified a number of support needs for their transition journey, including: 
    • Easier access to stable housing and more security regarding income and financial support
    • More choice and better access to effective mental health services
    • Improved engagement from Social Workers and Transition Workers
    • Improved understanding of entitlements, and support for accessing services
    • Ongoing opportunities for engagement, support and services post YJ residential care
    • Ongoing, early support for connecting and reconnecting to Māori culture
    • Support for moving into work, education or training
    • Better information and more responsive support for rangatahi with an intellectual disability.
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