Specialist placements for children and young people with high needs
Updated: 17 July 2015
What's Important To Us
All children and young people need a home that can provide for their safety and wellbeing. Some children and young people in our care have been exposed to a number of care situations because they have not been able to meet their complex needs. We are committed to providing care that has the strength and capability to manage the complexity of care required by some of our children and young people.
What to do and who to engage when considering specialist placements for children and young people with high needs.
What is the National High Needs Hub?
The National High Needs Hub (the hub) manages referrals, applications and placements to Oranga Tamariki care and protection residences and many of the nationally managed programmes. The hub consists of advisors within Residential and High Needs Services, Care and Protection Support and Operations who can provide you with advice and support options for care services and programmes for children and young people with complex or high needs.
The types of programmes the hub manages are intensive, specialised programmes, including our care and protection residences that meet the needs of our children and young people in care with the highest needs and most challenging behaviour. These placements require planning and support, and will be one part of a comprehensive package for a child or young person.
Which children and young people might benefit from these services?
All children and young people in care are vulnerable and those who require intensive placements and programmes often face greater challenges then other children or young people. It is important to focus on the needs of the child or young person and consider whether a residential placement, often away from their whānau or family and community, is in their best interests and how the programme may best match their needs.
Areas of complexity may include:
- harmful or concerning sexual behaviour
- alcohol and/or drug use
- significant self harm or suicidal ideation
- unsafe sexual activity which is also outside the ‘norm' for adolescent development including prostitution and other sex work
- high levels of violence towards others
- excessive absconding, often these children and young people are missing for weeks or months at a time
- ongoing disengagement from education despite extra support and guidance
- intellectual disability
- mental health or learning difficulties that impact on their ability to manage in education settings or with everyday caregivers
- often have diagnosis of ADHD, conduct disorder, attachment disorders or depression or other diagnosed behaviour problems.
Making a referral
A child/young person and family consult is completed to understand the needs of the child or young person and consider what interventions may be appropriate. When completed this needs to be recorded in CYRAS.
All referrals are dealt with in the first instance by local and regional hub processes. Following the regional hub process, regional contacts will forward this referral to the National High Needs Hub for consideration about placement/programme options.
Before making a referral, consider the following questions:
- What does the child or young person think about going into a programme? What will they get out of it?
- How will the whānau or family support the placement?
- What is the plan for the child or young person to maintain links with their family/whanāu, friends and education while they are in a programme?
- What do other professionals including the lawyer for the child or young person think about them going into a programme?
- How will financial costs be met (such as travel costs for maintaining contact)?
- How will the child or young person transition to their next placement?
- What is the contingency option for the child or young person in terms of placement?
Most programmes require further documentation with the referral in order to determine if the child or young person's needs match their intervention. It is relevant to include the following in your referral to the hub:
- most recent court report or up to date case summary
- a s128 plan or family group conference plan
- educational history and current records
- medical history
- most recent Tuituia report
- Substances and Choices Scale (SACS) and Kessler and Suicide screens
- Suicide risk assessment.
If the child or young person has conduct disorder or extreme behavioural problems then a current psychological assessment or psychiatric assessment is relevant. If they have harmful or concerning sexual behaviour an assessment by an appropriate provider is required.
How do we decide which intervention fits?
This decision is based on the information provided and the knowledge of what each programme delivers. The national hub will match the needs of the child or young person with the service, based on the information and recommendation of the regional hub. This decision is based on the following factors:
- the strengths and needs of the child or young person
- the risks the child or young person poses to themselves and/or others and at what level these risks are
- the vulnerabilities of the child or young person
- the previous interventions and supports that have been put in place to support the child or young person and their whānau or family
- the other children and young people who are in a programme
- the distance between a child or young person's community and the programme and whether the needs can be met in that community
- where a child or young person may transition to after a stay at a programme.
It is important that the information provided accurately describes the child or young person. We are trying to prevent a cycle of placement disruption and ensure the child or young person can successfully complete a programme and safely transition back to their community.
Youth Services Strategy (YSS) Service Specifications (PDF 1.6MB) for one-to-one care services and specialist group home services
Harmful Sexual Behaviour, Early Intervention and Youth Service Service Specifications (PDF 1.7MB) for young people with harmful sexual behaviour or displaying concerning sexualised behaviour