Transitions for children and young people who offend: Actively planning for success
What's Important To Us
Being able to understand and prepare for transitions gives young people some certainty and control over their future and helps contribute to a successful outcome for them. Involving the young person’s family/whānau in the development of the plan and providing them with support and strategies to sustain a change in behaviour is essential, and it is important to remain in contact with the family/whānau to identify, address and resolve issues at home before the young person returns.Every young person completing a residential order deserves a comprehensive plan to ensure positive and supportive reintegration into their community. Close and ongoing liaison between the social worker and the residential case leader is at the heart of successful planning. This liaison begins when the social worker is preparing the supervision with residence order and continues throughout the length of the order. Understanding each other’s role and working closely together will give the young person the best chance of sustaining a positive change in behaviour once they leave the residence
Twelve and 13 year olds in the Youth Court
Under certain circumstances children aged 12 and 13 may appear before the Youth Court and be made subject to the sanctions of the Court. In these cases the child is considered to be a “young person” for the purposes of the Court and will be referred to as such for the purposes of this key information
The purpose of transition planning is to:
- provide a seamless transition for young people from residential care to community based care (this includes escorting arrangements)
- discuss the conditions of the proposed supervision order, or the need to vary existing or impose new conditions for the plan that has already been directed
- assist the social worker to complete the s334 report and s335 plan for the young person prior to leaving the residence
- stipulate the level of supervision, monitoring, and any additional conditions that will promote the successful completion of the young person’s plan
- reduce the likelihood of reoffending and re-admission to a residence.
Roles and Responsibilities
The key social worker completes the s334 report and s335 plan for the s311 supervision with residence order, and the subsequent supervision order. The social worker makes every effort to attend the multi-agency meetings and pre-release meetings at the residence, either in person or via video and/or teleconferencing.
The social worker supervisor ensures the s334 report and s335 plan are of an acceptable quality and standard, and clearly address the identified issues for the young person including their transition to the community and an appropriate placement. The supervisor or someone who is familiar with the case attends required meetings if the key social worker is unavailable.
The practice leader facilitates the pre-s311 planning meeting, the pre-release planning meeting and the post-release review meeting, and provides ongoing advice and guidance as required to the social worker and supervisor.
The residential care team is responsible for the day to day care of the young person whilst in residence. The residential case leader oversees any clinical intervention and is appointed as a co-worker. He or she liaises closely with the key social worker to ensure that a Tuituia assessment is completed and updates the key social worker about the young person’s programmes and progress at the residence. The case leader also prepares the s314 early release report for the Youth Court.
The residence manager ensures that the s314 report is completed, approved and provided to the Youth Court in time for the designated Youth Court hearing. Where the Youth Court grants early release, confirmation is sought from the presiding Judge on when and how they wish to be notified of the young person’s continued compliance or otherwise for the days between the hearing and the actual date of release. A copy of the s314 report will be provided to the social worker – this may be via a reminder in CYRAS.
Tuituia report and SACS
The Tuituia assessment is updated collaboratively by the key social worker and residential case leader, and updated Tuituia reports are available for all the required meetings.
Prior to discharge from residence, SACS is reapplied to understand the current level of risk for the young person.
Supervision with residence order (s311): Preparation and content
A robust report and plan clearly indicates what the objectives are for the young person and how they will be achieved. What needs to happen for this young person to reduce or preferably stop his or her offending? Show how the tasks outlined in the young person’s plan will contribute to and support the objectives.
The social worker will contact Residential Services at National Office to discuss which residence will be most appropriate for the young person; considerations will include bed availability, proximity to family/whānau and ability to manage his or her specific needs.
Once a residence is identified for the young person, the social worker organises a pre-s311 planning meeting. This meeting will inform the report and plan and is chaired by the practice leader. Other attendees include the young person, family/whānau members, a representative from the selected residence, youth justice supervisor, youth justice co-ordinator, any other appropriate provider for the plan including post residence options.
Information provided for the pre-s311 meeting will consider all information including the Tuituia report, the family group conference outcome, relevant information from previous residential admissions (if any), health and education information, and any other relevant and current information.
To improve the likelihood of a successful community reintegration for the young person on his or her return from residence, consider offering appropriate programmes and support (e.g. parenting, drug and alcohol) to his or her parents or caregivers prior to his or her release.
The s335 plan will outline:
- the identified risks and needs for the young person and what has been put in place to address them in the residence
- how the transition phases will be prepared and managed for the young person, particularly on his or her completion of the order. These include:
- returning to a secure and stable placement
- continuing any education and/or training from residence to the community
- transfer of care for any counselling or treatment services from residence to the community
- any proposed familiarisation visits by the young person in preparation for the transition from residential care to the community.
- regular contact and collaboration between the social worker and the residential case leader throughout the period of the s311
- what contact and support is in place for the family by the social worker to prepare the family for the young person’s return
- the attendance of the social worker at the MAT meetings held at the residence
- The pre-release planning meeting to review the progress made by the young person and consider what is still to be completed with regards to the s335 plan and to develop the plan for the supervision order. It is expected that the young person, members of his/her family/whänau and any other person identified as a support person/mentor will participate in this meeting. Preliminary planning for the forthcoming supervision plan should be undertaken at this time.
Early release from custory (s314)
Young people subject to a supervision with residence order are entitled to an early release after two-thirds of the order if the Youth Court is satisfied that:
- the young person has not absconded or committed any further offences; and
- their behaviour and compliance have been satisfactory (or any misbehaviour or non-compliance has been minor); and
- they have complied satisfactorily with specified programmes/activities.
The Court sets a date for the early release hearing when the supervision with residence order is made. The hearing date should be on the date on which the exact two-thirds of the order has been completed or not more than seven working days earlier. The s314 report assists the Court in its determination of whether the young person can be released from custody after two-thirds of the supervision with residence order.
There needs to be consensus between the social worker and the residential case leader on whether or not early release is supported. Where it is agreed that the young person has not met the conditions for early release, the s335 plan will still be completed and lodged with the Court as the final decision remains with the presiding Youth Court judge.
If the Court is satisfied that the young person has been sufficiently compliant (in terms of complying with s314) the young person can be released from the supervision with residence order on the day of Court. In practice, the young person attends Court and can then go home if the Court approves the early release.
Early release not supported or contentious
When early release for the young person is not supported by Oranga Tamariki the residential case leader will seek legal advice from their regional solicitor before submitting the s314 report to the Youth Court at least three working days before the hearing day. The s334 report and s335 plan should also be filed at this time if the post-supervision order has not already been made. In particularly difficult cases the attendance of the solicitor at the Youth Court should be considered; a solicitor is always present for 12 and 13 year old children who offend.
More than one residence for a young person
Where a young person has resided at two (or more) residences during their period of supervision with residence, the residence at which the young person is residing at the time of the pre-release meeting compiles and provides one coordinated s314 report for the Court. Input for this report is sought from the previous residence(s).
The residential case leader, in consultation with the practice leader and key social worker, organises a pre-release meeting no later than two weeks prior to the early release hearing date. If the young person is not granted early release, a case consult is organised one week prior to the young person’s final release date.
The key social worker ensures the participation of key family/whānau members and significant others (including any victims of the offending) to the meeting. He or she provides information about any service providers that will be providing services for the young person after their release and, if required, ensures their participation in the pre-release meeting.
The residential case leader ensures that all relevant information regarding the young person’s time in the residence is compiled and available for the pre-release meeting, including:
- the views and recommendations of any service providers who have worked with the young person while in the residence
- any assessments and/or reports completed during the period the young person has been in the residence
- updated Tuituia report and SKS
- data from the residence’s Behaviour Management System.
The young person attends the pre-release meeting and has input into the plan. The plan is the young person’s plan; it is not something that is developed solely by professionals.
The pre-release meeting has three purposes:
1. To update on progress to date on the supervision with residence order, including compliance with the conditions for early release and then to consider whether:
- to make a decision to support early release; or
- to oppose early release, requiring the young person to complete the full term of the order.
2. To discuss the conditions of the proposed supervision order (if the sentence is subject to split sentencing) and/or vary existing or impose new conditions of existing orders or to cancel or suspend them.
3. To discuss and plan the young person’s transition from residence to the community.
The pre-release meeting finalises the arrangements for a key person from the community or family/whānau to build a working rapport with the young person during the residential phase. This may be supported through a mentoring programme.
Supervision order: Preparation and content
Sections 305, 306 and 335 outline what can be required in a supervision order. In addition to those requirements, the s335 plan outlines:
- Where the young person will live – this must be a focus for the social worker particularly if the young person has s101 status and/or a return home is not possible. A stable placement option must be secured to ensure a positive transition and outcome.
- How the transition from residence to a home environment will be managed
- Education, training or employment – it is important that this section reflects and supports what the young person has been doing in the residence and clearly shows how it will be continued in the community
- Counselling/other treatment requirements – how is the transfer of care to community providers being managed?
- How criminogenic risks can be minimised including the management of risk periods like evenings and weekends - what is evident in the Tuituia report?
- The support required for the young person to complete the plan
- Support required by the parents or caregivers to enable the young person to complete their plan
- Key contacts in the community that will advance the plan
- Roles and responsibilities of any community providers post residence
- Identify who will be the key person to support the young person (in some cases this will be the social worker)
- Identify who will set up initial appointments for the young person.
- Details of any agreed post-release contact by residential staff.
- For orders of eight months or more, the objectives of the plan
- Consideration of “back-up” options in case the initial placement is not successful or other parts of the plan cannot be implemented satisfactorily.
The s335 plan will identify what interventions are required to support the young person. The needs and risks for the young person will have been clearly identified by the Tuituia assessment and others as required. It is important that all those needs and risks are addressed. Understanding what has been done at the residence for the young person will ensure continuity in any continued treatment requirements in the community.
Post-release review meeting
A post-release review meeting is held two weeks after the young person has been released from the residence. This meeting’s purpose is to check that the plan is on track and risk factors are being managed. See the flowchart for details about who should attend.
Planning for transition from residence
Residential Services will develop a plan for each young person completing a supervision with residence order which outlines, amongst other actions, specific actions around transitioning from residence. The s335 plan for the supervision order as filed in the Youth Court is held in the young person’s record in CYRAS. The social worker will record the s335 plan in the court record in CYRAS as normal.
Post release contact by residential staff
Where the young person has developed a close relationship with residential staff, the social worker considers how this may be helpful in supporting the young person once the order is completed. Planned interventions and/or contact with the young person by residential staff post release is discussed and agreed with the key social worker. Full details will be included in the s335 plan.
If the young person makes direct contact with the residence after their release, staff are expected to manage the situation appropriately and inform the social worker as soon as possible. Although post residential contact outside of what was agreed should not be encouraged, it is recognised that young people sometimes reach out in this way and it is important that they receive a sympathetic and supportive response.
Placement in a supervised group home
If a young person is to be placed in a supervised group home post residence, the placement needs to be near to the young person’s home and community. A staff member from the group home should be invited to attend the pre-release meeting. Planning for the young person’s transition from a supervised group home to their home, other caregivers or independence is included in the s335 report. A care and protection custodial status is necessary to enable placement at a supervised group home post release from a section 364 residence.
Involving the local Police Youth Aid
It is important that local Police Youth Aid are part of the planning process around a young person’s return to their community after they have served a sentence of supervision with residence. The Police should be involved in the pre-release planning process; if this does not occur the social worker meets with their local Police Youth Aid to share the arrangements for the young person’s return and reintegration into his/her community.
Transferring a young person to another residence during a supervision with residence order
A supervision with residence order transfers custody to the chief executive of Oranga Tamariki as if a parenting order had been made under the Care of Children Act 2004. The chief executive provides the day to day care and placement is decided by the Court.
If there is a need to transfer the young person to another residence (s312(3)) the social worker and residential case leader co-ordinate the move. The young person’s Tuituia assessment should also be reviewed at this time and a new plan developed to take into consideration the young person’s new living arrangements. Where necessary, contact should also be made with Residential Services at National Office, as well as the manager of the residence to which the young person is being sent. Court approval is obtained prior to the transfer.
The High Risk Register (youth justice)
Transitions for children and young people who offend: Actively planning for success