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Article review: What should be changed to support young people? The voices of young people involved with Oranga Tamariki. The Youth19 Research Group (Fleming et al. 2022)

The Youth19 Rangatahi Smary suvery is part of a large longitudinal study running in Aotearoa and exploring the views and experiences of rangatahi.  In this blog, Eve Leonard concisely summarises one of the articles from this series with five key implications for clinical work.

A subset of the questions from The Youth19 Rangatahi Smart survey captured the voice of young people currently involved with Oranga Tamariki (OT) to understand what is important to them.

5 key points from the article were:

  • Rangatahi are citing connection, togetherness, and love, especially with whānau and frienships as important to them
  • Rangatahi want to feel safe at school, and have a say and be treated fairly at home
  • Helping others, having help, and someone to talk to when things are tough is important
  • Rangatahi, especially Pacific young women, felt the responsibility of caring for whānau, contributing financially, and keeping others in the home safe
  • Rangatahi at school feel discriminated against, not accepted by teaching staff and often need extra support for learning  which is not happening

When considering these findings in the context of how we work with Rangatahi, particularly those who are in the care of or supported by Oranga Tamariki, we should consider the following:

  • Developing problem-solving and communication skills for rangatahi and the whānau is important.  Resources should be directed into supporting whānau relationships and facilitating conflict resolution in a way that is meaningful for rangatahi and whakamana's them.
  • Advocate for more resources in kura and school to find ways to continue to support rangatahi to remain engaged in schools. This might include learning assessments, accessing teacher aides, GateWay assessment; and alternative ways of teaching.  Keeping rangatahi engaged in their education is protective for their wellbeing.
  • Find out what can be done to support whanaungatanga and connections that are important for each rangatahi. This doesn't have to be whānau but could also include sports groups, faith-based communities, or pro social activities.  If there are barriers such as social skills, it is important to consider how rangatahi be supported to develop these skills and what supports they may need to do this.
  • Find out who the rangatahi feels they can talk to if they are struggling; if there isn’t anyone, this needs to be a focus of OT intervention whether it be finding a professional, whānau, someone at school.  Having a trusted adult is protective for wellbeing.
  • Rangatahi want to help others, to contribute to those around them and we need to support and faciliate these aspirations.

The full article can be viewed here 


 - written by Eve Leonard


Tags: bullying; school; workplace; parents; support; whānau; rangatahi; youth

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