A hard place to be happy

Voices of children and young people in care and protection residences
Child protection Residential care Youth New Zealand
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Hard place to be happy (report) 1.95 MB

This report shares insights from 52 children and young people who were living in secure care and protection residences between August 2017 and September 2018. It describes those insights and includes quotes from children and young people. Five key themes emerged the analysis of the interviews. These themes do not quantify how many individual children and young people had any particular experience. Instead, they provide valuable insights into children and young people’s experiences of the residence, and how the wider system impacted them. 

Key themes

  1. Being in a secure residence is hard - children and young people experience an institutional environment in residences. They talked about the physical conditions, the lack of freedom, independence and choice, and how they coped.
  2. This place doesn’t always work for me - children and young people discussed the realities of living in a secure residence and how it impacts on them. They talked about the day-to-day practices, including rights, restraints, grievances (complaints) and behaviour management.
  3. People who work with me can help - children and young people told us about the staff who care for them and provide activities and other services. They also discussed what they liked and didn’t like about the way they were treated.
  4. Contact with my family and friends is important - children and young people had varying experiences of contact with their families. They shared their need to see and talk to their family and friends, and the difficulty of maintaining contact with them while in residence.
  5. My culture matters - children and young people expressed their desire for more opportunities to participate in more cultural activities. 
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