Prison-like childrens' homes need change.
Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft says the conditions for children in many secure residences run by the Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki are prison-like, dated and bleak.His report released today on visits over the past year to seven of the nine care and protection or youth justice residences says the care of the young people is improving but fundamental changes are needed.
Children and young people in care and protection residences have committed no crimes and they should not be locked up in large institutions which are unsuitable settings for their needs. Positive interventions to the most complex behaviours are difficult because of the conditions. He says most of the young people would be much better off in small, community- based centres with proper therapeutic supervision and programmes. The report found no evidence of systemic abuse in the residences but there was bullying and all-too-common an undercurrent of violence. He says his office needed more funding to visit each of the residences more often.