Trial to test new methods
A two-year Wairarapa Social Sector Trial launched yesterday has been vaunted as a new era for young people in the region.
Project manager Dorreen Mackenzie said the trial would test new structures for funding and decision-making and would place control in regional and district hands.
The Social Sector Trials involve the Ministries of Education, Health, Justice and Social Development, and the New Zealand Police "working together to change the way that social services are delivered", according to the Ministry of Social Development website.
Representatives at the official launch at the Carterton Community Centre included Wairarapa Police area commander Brent Register, South Wairarapa District Council Mayor Adrienne Staples, Masterton District Council deputy mayor Graham McClymont, Kuranui College principal Geoff Shepherd, Wairarapa REAP director Peter NcNeur, and South Wairarapa Safer Community Council manager Tere Lenihan and other workers from the group that is the lead agency in the trial.
Apologies were accepted from Carterton Mayor Ron Mark and Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson. Mrs Staples said significant work had been poured in to the trial document for the region and she thanked Ms Mackenzie and her staff and the project advisory panel.
"Wairarapa is fortunate to have the support of Government is this trial and it can make a difference," Mrs Staples said.
"This is the start of a new era regarding the way we will be working and doing our best for the young people of Wairarapa."
The Wairarapa trial aims to reduce truancy, criminal offending, risky sexual behaviour and alcohol and other drug use among a target group of youths aged from 12 to 18 years of age. The trail also sets out to increase participation of the target age group in training, education and employment.
The Wairarapa trial has an advisory group made up of each of the three district mayors, local and regional senior representatives of the Ministries of Justice, Education, Health and Social Development, New Zealand Police, youth, iwi and other community representatives, Ms MacKenzie said.
She said Wairarapa was selected to run a trial due to its rates of youth crime, drug use and high levels of risky sexual behaviour among youths.
Ms MacKenzie said a significant element of the trial would involve consultation with youth to identify gaps in services.
The trials aim to "test what happens when a local organisation or individual directs cross-agency resources, as well as local organisations and government agencies to deliver collaborative social services".