South Dunedin social sector trial youth action plan

Key Messages

Context
The Ministries of Social Development, Justice, Education and Health, and the New Zealand Police are working together to Trial a change in the way social services are delivered.

The South Dunedin Trial aims to develop a Youth Action Plan to help achieve the following outcomes for young people aged 12 to 18:

  • Increase attendance at school;
  • Reduce youth offending;
  • Reduce substance misuse;
  • Increase engagement in education, training and employment;
  • Improve collaboration, co-ordination and communication between agencies working in the sector, including government agencies.

The aim is to support decision making at the local level, build on existing networks and strengthen coordination at every level of government and within the community.

Timeframe
The Trial is running for 2 years until end of June 2015. Work has already begun on setting up many of the actions in the Plan.

Process
The actions in the Plan have been developed following discussion with a wide range of stakeholders, consultation with young people and the wider community, as well as a review of data and of services and programmes currently in place.

Consultation
Consultation with young people resulted in the following themes:

  • most young people feel supported by family/ whanau in their education
  • alcohol, nicotine and other drug usage are the main health issues facing young people in South Dunedin, with particular concerns raised about alcohol and synthetic drugs
  • young people find it difficult to know where to go for help for problems or concerns about friends
  • there are few work experience or job opportunities available for young people
  • young people feel there is limited career guidance provided to them
  • young people would welcome more advice on the labour market and the realities of life outside the school environment
  • a lack of trades options available at secondary schools was highlighted
  • gang activity in South Dunedin is a concern for young people
  • there is a lack of suitable venues and activities available for young people in South Dunedin
  • there are limited transport options available to access services outside South Dunedin due to cost.

Consultation with other key stakeholders resulted in the following themes:

  • the existence of a complex array of services and initiatives which can be difficult to navigate
  • recognition there is a good level of specialist service provision for young people requiring support, but more focus is required to identify and support young people at an earlier stage
  • a need for increased capacity of some programmes to meet levels of need
  • recognition that transition of young people between or out of services represents a time of significant risk
  • recognition of the value of education in building young people’s resilience
  • a need for young people to receive more help in getting into employment or training
  • the importance of ensuring services available are working at their full potential and making a difference in young people’s lives
  • recognition that mentoring is important in helping young people to achieve positive outcomes
  • a need for greater collaboration and sharing of best practice.

Youth Action Plan
The Plan is a living document that will adapt as more issues and solutions come to light;
It contains actions which are led by a wide range of agencies, demonstrating ownership of the plan, and it encourages collaborative working to achieve the actions;
The Plan builds on what is already in place and focuses actions on gaps identified;
It includes both actions that are targeted on vulnerable young people in South Dunedin (eg support for families to address issues that are keeping young people away from school) and actions that will be open to or benefit young people across the whole city (eg alcohol and drug campaigns to raise awareness among parents);
Most actions have resources identified or are being delivered from within existing resources and with in-kind contributions from agencies. A handful of actions are more aspirational and will require specific funding (eg youth employment hub, CACTUS programme).
The Plan includes success measures for each outcome area which highlight what success will look like. Local indicators are being developed to measure progress and demonstrate the impact of the Trial.

Links
The Youth Action Plan is available on the MSD website:
http://www.msd.govt.nz/social-sector-trials/

Youth Forum
We are establishing a list of young people aged between 12 and 18 who live in South Dunedin who are willing to be involved with the Trial and consulted on an on-going basis. The first tasks for the Youth Forum will be consultation on the development of a brand for the Trial, input into developing a young person friendly version of the Action Plan, and ideas about Facebook content.
Anyone who is interested can contact us on:
SDSST@outlook.co.nz