Social services trial to help youth

A Government-backed project aiming to test new ways of delivering youth-based social services is on its way to South Taranaki.

The district is part of a fresh wave of communities picked for the Social Sector Trial which is led by either a non-governmental organisation or individual who develops a town-specific programme.

Youth nurse practitioner Marilyn Chittenden said she was delighted the trial was heading to South Taranaki.

Mrs Chittenden said it would pull together cross-agency resources and manage them to ensure that services and goals were joined up.

"It will let us set our own direction at a local level," she said. "We need a more locally grown and collective response here and we are capable of doing it. This will allow us to improve outcomes and we can measure our successes."

Whanganui MP Chester Borrows said the Government's decision to expand the trials, which started with six towns in 2011, would offer opportunities to test what works best in different places and situations.

"Most of the trials are focused on young people aged 12 to 18 years and this is the group we're focusing on in South Taranaki," he said.

"The outcomes we're after include reduced offending, reduced truancy, less alcohol and drug use and more young people participating in education, training and employment.

"If we can make good progress in these areas, we'd really be making a difference for our young people in Hawera."

The recruitment process started last week and a project head is yet to be selected.

Taranaki Daily News