INDEPENDENT NEWS

Extra support for vulnerable youth

Published: Thu 24 May 2012 02:32 PM
Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development
24 May 2012
Extra support for vulnerable youth
Budget 2012 includes an $18.3 million investment over the next four years in mental health and other services for children and young people, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says.
“Young people can be among our most vulnerable and need specific support to address their needs,” she says. “I’m pleased to be putting more funding into mental health services for young people, including youth workers and One-Stop Shops.”
Twelve youth-focused One-Stop Shops will deliver a range of health and social services around the country. This funding will boost these services to meet the demand of mild to moderate mental health issues.
Budget 2012 operating funding from Vote Social Development for youth mental health includes:
• Youth One-Stop Shops ($600,000 in 2012/13).
• Mental health information and support for families and parents ($1 million over four years).
• Mental health youth workers in secondary schools ($8.7 million over four years).
• The Social Media Innovations Fund ($2 million over four years).
• Support for vulnerable children ($6 million over four years).
“We know it makes a difference for young people to be able to go to a youth worker in their own school to get support,” Mrs Bennett says.
“Youth One-Stop Shops are an important part of the picture because they provide a trusted place for young people to go to for health and social needs.”
The Ministry of Social Development will also administer a new contestable fund for non-government organisations to get information to parents, families and friends who are worried about young people.
“Parents, families and friends are usually the first to identify mental health issues in a young person they are close to. It’s vital they know what to do and how to support them,” Mrs Bennett says.
“We’ve also recognised young people live in a tech-savvy world and it’s time we lifted our game to keep up with the kids.”
The Social Media Innovations Fund will help service providers use social media to reach young people with mental health issues.
The Government will also step up protection of vulnerable children through better data matching and information sharing.
“The Government’s White Paper on vulnerable children will be released later this year and will be largely funded through Budget 2013, but there are some things we can do now,” Mrs Bennett says.
Funding of $6 million over four years will allow the groundwork to begin with some of the more complex work requiring systems changes like information sharing.
“This Government continues to put children and young people at the centre of decision-making, which is driving a focus on services that will make a real difference,” Mrs Bennett says.
ENDS

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