24 August, 2012
Mentoring giving young offenders fresh hope
Mentoring young people at risk of becoming career criminals is the best way to put them on the right track, says Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows.
Mr Borrows today visited Wairarapa based mentoring provider Te Hiringa Ora to congratulate them on their outstanding work, accompanied by Wairarapa MP John Hayes. Te Hiringa Ora are one of the providers who have delivered mentoring for more than 1100 at risk young people under the Fresh Start reforms, introduced in October 2010.
“Many young offenders have no self-esteem, have uncertainty in their lives, and are lacking any sense of purpose or direction. Without people who are willing to get involved in their lives, many of these young people are fast headed for a life of crime – thank goodness for people like Te Hiringa Ora,” says Mr Borrows.
The Fresh Start reforms provided funding for 300 mentoring places each year, with an annual investment of $1.125m. Uptake of these programmes has far exceeded expectations, with 698 placements in 2011/12. Of these, 77 were formal Youth Court orders and the remaining 621 placements were arranged as part of a Family Group Conference or Court-supervised plan.
“This Government’s commitment to reducing youth crime is highlighted not only by the policy changes we have made, but by the investment we have made in areas such as mentoring programmes. We know that over time this investment will pay off many times over, in reduced costs to both the social and justice sectors, as well as the incalculable gain of preventing future victims of crime,” says Mr Borrows.
“It’s too early to assess the impact of mentoring on reoffending, but anecdotal evidence is that mentoring as part of a package of therapeutic programmes, like drug and alcohol counselling, is the way to go. Groups like Te Hiringa Ora, and the other mentoring providers, really are doing their bit to give fresh hope to our young people.”