The client base of KYDT includes young people aged between 10-17 years. This upper limit of 17 is defined by the Children, Young Person and Their Families Act 1989. We accept referrals from approved agencies within the local area of Kaipatiki and Child Youth and Family, as invited by community stakeholders, and sometimes through a connected peer. The criterion for referral is that the referrer needs to feel satisfied that there is risk for a young person, whether it is for their own behaviors or a family situation or environment impacting on the young person.
We see mentoring as a fundamental aspect of positive youth development. Social workers at KYDT spend time developing strong and trusting relationships with young people, based on respect and positive regard. The individualized nature of these interventions nurtures a mutually enhancing relationship that can provide stability, consistency and a positive role model in the lives of young people who may be experiencing disadvantage in their lives. “[KYDT] have a genuine desire to improve the lives of young people and their communities” (Referral Agent – Youth Justice CYFS) “getting out and just talking…having someone there you can just rely on… helpful to have a different perspective…someone else’s opinion…I wouldn’t been dealing with things by myself or I might not have dealt with things…if you don’t have that adult there to talk to you, it’s hard to have perspective” (Current mentee when asked what she most liked about KYDT mentoring)
Early Intervention Programmes
To believe that most parents know instinctively how to raise and discipline their children, may be an unreal expectation. Simply to hope that they will be ok is not enough for many young people and communities. Any skills acquired at an early age can be of benefit both the young person and the community. Local schools refer children to KYDT for early intervention work. The KYDT social workers meet with small groups at a number of local schools for an hour every week, to work through activities that help to support healthy growth, positive formation of identity, and positive social functioning in the young people’s lives. The aims of the programme include: Improved self-management and empathy, better understanding how their behaviour affects others Develop a positive self-image, to restore their dignity and help them accept themselves as valuable people Develop healthy peer relationships Provide positive adult role models who are approachable and reliable. Someone they can trust and fosters a mutually respectful relationship Develop personal potential, including leadership skills Increase self-esteem through learning about themselves, their family and their interests through goal setting activities
After School Programmes
After discovering that much of Youth offending is being done between the hours of 3pm and 7pm, KYDT developed after school programmes to ensure the positive engagement of local young people. The programmes provide free and fun supervised and structured activity based afternoon sessions for young people who would not otherwise have access to such a programme. Some of the activities involved in this programme include basketball, junior Masterchef and treasure hunts to name just a few. “they are now more family focused rather than wanting to roam the streets, they listen to instructions and are less disrespectful…[it has] built their sense of responsibility” (Parent of two young people currently engaged with KYDT) When a past client was asked if he would recommend KYDT services and programmes to others in the community he said “most definitely…I would recommend it to the kids who weren’t even down that path, the kids who are ‘undecided’ I guess”.
Collaboration and Networking
The success of the KYDT is built, and maintained through long-standing and robust relationships with a number of local service providers and agencies involved with young people, including local Primary, Intermediate and High Schools, Truancy Officers, Strengthening Families, local Police and Youth Aid officers and Public Health Nurses. In particular we have developed a strong partnership with the Kaipatiki Community Facilities Trust. We acknowledge the support of the Community Coordinator (Jill Nerheny) in providing us this support as well as accommodation and enabling us to work more collaboratively in achieving more positive outcomes for young people in the community. We are part of a larger group of services located in Kaipatiki looking to provide a more comprehensive approach of services allowing easy access for our referrals. KYDT embraces the concept of Community Development and works closely with local stakeholder organisations to ensure the best outcomes for the young person, their family and the wider community. The KYDT also see this sharing of resources as particularly necessary in the changing economic times of the last 5-6 years.
Research and Evaluation
“[KYDT] takes a ‘holistic approach’ by engaging with families to challenge and empower them to manage and respond better to the young person’s behaviour” (Referral Agent – Youth Justice CYFS) “[it is] intervention that can make the difference [for young people]” (Referral Agent – Community Constable) In mid-2012, the KYDT conducted research to ascertain the effectiveness of the organization within the wider context of the community. The themes that emerged from this research were that there is an increasing need for programmes and support for young people in the Kaipatiki community with almost every referral agent we spoke to requesting to refer more and more young people. In 2013 KYDT has joined with the University of Auckland to research the implications of our Early Intervention Programmes. Since the implementation of our pilot programme in 1997 the programme has had positive feedback from both schools staff and students were it is operating. However, there is very little information about the underlying cognitive and behavioural changes that are contributing to these results. The Assessment of the EIP programmes will enable KYDT to make informed choices with future programme development and to seek further funding in order to implement the programme with more schools. “The key thing is for young people to know that they are significant and special”