Kaitiaki is a 24/7 Youth Justice residential programme for young males detained in Oranga Tamariki custody. The programme offers placement in two group homes for up to eight weeks with a focus on reduced reoffending and rehabilitation into mainstream society. With locations in Northcote and Otara, Kaitiaki is a safe haven for young people.
Kaitiaki group homes
Kaitiaki are community-based remand homes – we have two. One in Otara and one in Northcote. They’re just like any regular home (in any community). The difference is they’re set up to deliver services that benefit young people/male rangatahi who’ve been remanded into the custody of Oranga Tamariki by a judge (as a response to their offending). Then they are placed with us.
Placements to the Kaitiaki group homes are co-ordinated by a Oranga Tamariki Placement Co-ordinator. We’re contracted by Oranga Tamariki to deliver remand home services – it’s a partnership.We also work closely with local iwi/Māori to provide the right kind of services and support for rangatahi, their whānau and the victims of offending.
Assessed for suitability
Before being placed at a Kaitiaki group home (rather than a youth justice residence) a young person is assessed to determine their suitability. They need to meet certain risk criteria. Anyone at high risk of absconding or reoffending, displaying concerning or harmful behaviours, is not considered.
Maintaining connections is important
Staying in a local home-like environment helps our rangatahi to maintain their connections with members of their family/whānau and community, that can help them achieve positive outcomes. They do the kinds of things common to most households, including scheduled programmes, whānau visits, sports and cultural activities.
The safety and security of rangatahi, staff and the community are a priority when deciding who and when to place a young person at a Kaitiaki group home. While they’re not surrounded by high fences or locked doors, rangatahi are aware that leaving without permission may result in their arrest. Our homes are fully staffed, 24/7, and the set up – being a home-like environment – minimises the risk of rangatahi absconding.
Why a Kaitiaki group remand home?
Community-based remand homes (such as ours) offer a way to manage concerns about a young person’s behaviour, without having to place them in a large youth justice residence away from the people they’re close to, further disrupting their lives. Being able to stay connected to their family and community gives our young people a better chance of getting back on track towards a positive future – which is a far better outcome for everyone.
We work closely with youth justice services, including Police and the Judiciary – they know what we’re about and what we do. They understand and are supportive.
Who runs these homes?
Resident house parents and youth workers offer substantial support to their rangatahi, promoting physical and social wellbeing. An education programme offering literacy and numeracy training runs in both homes during the week, along with scheduled and supervised activities that are a positive alternative to negative social behaviours.
Who can be placed in our homes?
Young people/rangatahi from Auckland and Northland. Placement at our group homes is prioritised for youth offenders, and young people in Youth Justice custody under s235 or 238(1) (d)*. However, youth under Care & Protection (C&P) orders can be considered on occasion.
*not all young people are ultimately found guilty of an offence.
Since 2010 our group home in Otara has opened its doors to over 1000 young males. Caring for up to five rangatahi at any given time, the team of trained youth workers review client placements 24/7, with engagement that supports the rangatahi in having a positive reintegration with their family/whānau and communities.
The Northcote home offers a family home environment incorporating educational and social training, bridging the gap between the rangatahi’s offending/negative behaviour and a permanent place/purpose back in their community. This home has cared for over 600 rangatahi since opening in 2015.
Both homes have a strong focus on education and social education, backed with a systemic response to offending/negative behaviour. This approach has led to a 60% reduction in absconding since 2017.