Youth Offending in New Zealand

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CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH RATIONALE

The problem we are faced with in New Zealand is the fact that the wraparound initiative has been adapted from the United States. One could argue that the framework set by the NWI does not apply to New Zealand, which is a valid point. In any case, however, it is pertinent that a framework for the provision of wraparound be developed to provide a foundation for future research. Until then, it is in the writer’s opinion that any wraparound project must adhere to the framework established by the NWI so as to create equivalence at baseline level, further fostering robust research designs.
What we have seen in this review is that a wraparound approach has a very promising future. The numerous amounts of outcome studies have shown that a wraparound approach does work whether directly or indirectly. What is lacking however in all areas of wraparound literature is the discussion and evidence base on how wraparound works. This notion provides the rationale for a project such as this. The current study will focus on the processes within the wraparound programme that produce particular outcomes.
Furthermore, what is also evident is the practical application of the wraparound initiative among agencies, but it is not seen whether the core principles or theoretical framework is being utilised as part of their service delivery. Literature on the provision of wraparound refers to providing coordinated care, system of care, coordination of outside agencies and individualised/tailored plans but neglects to discuss the processes in which these are addressed or implemented. Wraparound is more than just these things, it involves a more complex way of dealing with all of the systems involved with the child.
This review has constantly referred to the relevance of Wraparound for Māori because Māori are over-represented in the justice system. Although this research project is not based on wraparound’s effectiveness with Māori, particular attention will be paid to these issues as and when they arise.

Research Aims

The overall aim of this project is to evaluate the processes of a wraparound programme for Māori youth and their whānau/families. This research will be carried out under a Utilization Focussed Evaluation Model, which is a framework designed specifically for the use and benefit to and for all stakeholders in the programme. This research is first and foremost designed for the use and benefit of Waipareira and the rangatahi/whānau who undertake the Wraparound programme. It is envisaged that this research will provide Waipareira with detailed information and recommendations which will provide them with the knowledge and opportunity to improve the delivery of their services, further benefiting the rangatahi whom they serve. On a larger scale, the research also aims to inform mental health providers, particularly Māori services of areas of future development for programmes aimed at ‘at risk youth’, and in particular the efficacy of a wraparound approach.
1. Describe the WWS programme in terms of its conceptualisation and operational goals, with a focus on cultural variables;
2. Evaluate the programme operation and service delivery in accordance with the principles set out by the National Wraparound Initiative (NWI);
3. Identify and describe strengths and weaknesses of the programme and make recommendations based on these.

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Wraparound Waipareira

Wraparound Waipareira is an intensive youth justice social work team who work with rangatahi/youth aged between 13-17 years. The service works with youth for 12 months providing an integrated service approach, where the wraparound worker (case manager) navigates (in negotiation with rangatahi and Whānau) a slow and steady care plan (Waipareira Wraparound Service Manual, 2008).
Wraparound Waipareira also works with whānau, and calls upon community support services as and when required. The primary function of the Wraparound Service is to deliver an intensive individualised programme aimed at rangatahi with multiple needs who have offended or who are at risk of offending to address their needs and thereby reduce offending. It is designed to provide a comprehensive needs-based spectrum of services addressing welfare, health, education and justice issues (Waipareira Wraparound Service Manual, 2008).
The main goals of the Waipareira Wraparound Service include a decrease in criminal activity and association; a decrease in suicide, motor vehicle accidents, unplanned pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse and the contraction of STD’s; and/or improved educational outcomes (Waipareira Wraparound Service Manual, 2008).
Wraparound Waipareira is…
• Young Person Focused
• Family/Whānau Centred
• Culturally Appropriate
• Collaborative/Partnership Based
• Strengths Based
• Needs Based
• Unconditional Care
• Flexible
• Integrated
• Supportive within the most Normal Community Environment (Waipareira Wraparound Service Manual, 2008).
Wraparound Waipareira is for….
• Youth from West Auckland Community who are at the lower end of Offending
• Youth aged from 13 – 17 years
• Youth who have attended, are eligible to attend or currently attend: A West Auckland School
• Youth who have had involvement with Youth Justice or Youth Aid
• Youth at risk of “out of Whānau” or residential placement
• Youth who have been absent from school and/or have been expelled, or are at risk of expulsion
• Youth who are homeless or unable to live at home
• Youth with significant health issues which require consideration
• Youth with diagnosed mental health issues such as attempted suicide or self-harming
• Youth involved in Risk Taking Behaviour (Waipareira Wraparound Service Manual, 2008).

Specific Aims

In this research, I will aim to describe the Waipareira Wraparound programme in terms of its conceptualisation and operational goals, with a focus on cultural variables relevant to the programme. This project will also describe the target group, characteristics of the staff, and referral pathways to treatment. All data collection will be based on qualitative methods, including semi-structured interviews with rangatahi, whānau, staff and stakeholders an analysis of programme documentation and observations of programme delivery. Attention will be paid to the assessment of programme operation and service delivery with a focus on observing Tikanga Māori processes that are used. This will be achieved through the experiences of the youth, whānau and staff, in terms of what specific needs they have in relation to being Māori, to understand how the programme may meet their needs individually and culturally, and how this programme differs from any mainstream programmes they may have experienced. Through observations of programme delivery, this project will identify processes that may be unique to the Wraparound Waipareira programme in comparison to other services available within the West Auckland community.
An analysis of programme documentation will also be conducted, which may provide alternative views to that gained from interviews. It may also provide a starting point for a future outcome evaluation on the Wraparound programme and assist in the formation and development of similar services. The project will describe and investigate outcome data to evaluate whether goals are being achieved, to what extent and for what period of time. Goals will be determined and evaluated based on the analysis of programme documentation, programme observation and interviews. At the conclusion of the project, recommendations will be provided. These will be based on an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the programme as perceived by participants. Exploring programme strengths and weaknesses will allow identification and validation of successful practices; assist with improved service delivery; facilitate staff development and training; and contribute to policy and programme performance assessment. On a more general level, the research will have particular focus on fidelity to the wraparound model; more specifically measuring Waipareira Wraparound’s adherence to the core principles as outline by the NWI.
In conclusion, such high rates of offending among our youth population is alarming. Even more so is the unresponsiveness of youth at risk to the available treatments. These concerning statistics support the implementation and evaluation of an initiative like the Wraparound concept due to its multi-modal, holistic approach and its endeavour to keep youth at risk in the community with their families without exposing them to a fragmented system of government agencies. While the evidence base for Wraparound is relatively poor, the Wraparound Initiative is a promising framework which has been positively evaluated by many. More importantly, Wraparound concepts are closely linked with tikanga Māori values and practices which show promise for its effectiveness among Māori youth. It has become apparent to the author, that although lacking in evidence-based practice, such initiatives like Wraparound are being ignored and placed under the radar. This review has highlighted the importance of introducing wraparound specific initiatives into mainstream community services and has also highlighted the fact that individualistic approaches to treating and our youth at risk are not working nor are they going to work. If it has shown the potential to improve many lives of our youth, why not try it, especially since it is obvious that the situation with our youth is not improving.

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Chapter 1 – Introduction
Background
Youth Offending in New Zealand
Māori Youth Offending
Factors influencing youth engagement in social services
Programmes for youth at risk in New Zealand and Overseas
Programmes for at risk indigenous youth
Chapter 2 – Wraparound Initiative
History
Principles
Phases
Implementation
Theory and Research
Evaluating the Wraparound Model
Chapter 3 – Research Rationale
Chapter 4 – Methodology
Chapter 5 – Method
Chapter 6 – Research Findings
Programme Description
Programme Documentation
Programme Observation
Chapter 7 – Participant Perspectives
Rangatahi Perspectives
Whānau Perspectives
Kaimahi Perspectives
Stakeholder Perspectives
Chapter 8 – Discussion
Overview
Discussion of Key Findings
Programme Recommendations
Strengths and limitations of the research
Suggestions for future research
Conclusion
References
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