7th September 2018
A teenage boy who has been in state care for 10 years, is being kept in prison because there is nowhere he can be bailed
to! The teen who has been diagnosed as having foetal alcohol spectrum disorder and ADHD, has had 63 placements with
Sensible Sentencing Youth Advocate Jess McVicar says this would be the perfect opportunity to have in place the proposed
Youth Employment and Education programme (YETE programme).
The YETE programme, proposed by New Zealand First but not as yet implemented, is designed to meet the vocational needs
of New Zealanders aged from 15 to 17 years. YETE will be situated in the New Zealand Defence Force and linked with and
monitored by the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education, and the New Zealand Qualifications
Jess says she cannot understand how the Youth Education Training and Education programme is not already a major part of
the Youth Justice System.
‘This youth needs help and direction and by placing him in another youth hostel with other troubled young people, or in
another placement is not going to help him. It’s not going to provide him with life skills or give him qualifications,
and it’s not going to give him the right guidance to enable him to achieve. Being a part of a military programme will
provide him with all those things, along with a feeling of what it’s like to be in a family environment. It will teach
him life skills and teach him about accountability and consequences.”
Jess says the programme would be a win for all those involved “Having young people in this situation at a military style
programme keeps them off the streets and out of trouble. It keeps the community safe, plus it gives hope to the young
people as it will be a structured programme, and it would also be a close knit team.”
Oranga Tamariki had emailed the youth's Lawyer and Police saying they will not have him back either now or in the
future, they want nothing further to do with him.
Since then, Oranga Tamariki have said staff will be visiting the youth and providing as much support as possible and
urgently looking for a suitable community bail option that will meet his needs while also keeping the community safe.
Jess says this is asking for trouble “Why place this youth back into a system that has clearly failed him his entire
life? It is obvious it hasn’t worked for him, so why do it again! He clearly needs the support and guidance that would
be provided by the YETE programme. It would be the perfect opportunity to show him that there are better options and he
does not need to be another statistic.”
Jess is becoming increasingly frustrated with the closed book on Youth Justice “It is a constant cover up. We hear they
have supportive programmes, and they work, but this is a clear illustration that they don’t work!”
“YETE aims to increase the number of young people entering employment or training by improving their self-discipline,
self-confidence, motivation, and initiative within a culture of respect, co-operation, teamwork, and tolerance. This
would help so many troubled youths who currently are being forced through a system that does not have the resources to
cope or the programmes to guide.”
“The current Youth Justice System is just a pipeline to prison. – we urgently need to try the YETE programme.”