Fresh Start

While the current youth justice process works well for the majority of young offenders, there are a group of serious and persistent young offenders who we need to work with more intensively, holding them to account while still giving them the support and interventions that will address the underlying causes of their offending behaviour. 

About Fresh Start

The Children, Young Persons and their Families (Youth Courts Jurisdiction and Orders) Amendment Act took effect on 1 October 2010.  These 'Fresh Start' reforms will enable us to work more intensively with these young people over a longer period of time.  With the help of this more sustained support, they have a better chance of getting their lives on track.

The reforms include:

  • creating tougher, more effective sentences for persistent and serious offenders, including longer residential stays and increased supervision requirements
  • providing new powers for the Youth Court to order parenting, mentoring and drug and alcohol programmes
  • widening the jurisdiction of the Youth Court  to include 12 and 13 year olds who commit serious offences

Fresh Start programmes

We have developed a range of responses to enable us to implement the Fresh Start reforms. These include:

  • expanding our supervision with activity programmes, by increasing the number placements and providers to improve nationwide coverage
  • increasing our investment in programmes delivered by NGOs that provide mentoring, parenting and drug and alcohol treatment
  • extending our supported bail initiative, increasing its reach across New Zealand
  • working with the New Zealand Defence Force to deliver a military-style activity camp (MAC) programme
  • improving the assessment and early identification of high-risk offenders
  • introducing electronic monitoring of curfew conditions as part of the new intensive supervision order, targeting repeat offenders and those who breach their community-based orders
  • intensifying the supervision we provide to young people by increasing the numbers of frontline youth justice staff.

We all know that early intervention is the best approach when dealing with youth offending. As well as targeting serious and persistent offenders, Fresh Start also includes a number of initiatives aimed at helping children and young people at the lower end of offending, or at risk of getting into trouble.

These include:

  • Community Youth programmes, structured programmes, such as community youth development programmes led by the Police
  • Court-supervised adventure camp activities or community based youth development activities with mentoring.
  • Innovation Fund, available for grass roots organisations to provide local solutions to local youth offending.

Service specifications

Please click here for the finalised service descriptions of the following Fresh Start initiatives:

  • mentoring programmes
  • parenting education programmes
  • alcohol and other drug rehabilitation programmes (community-based and residential)
  • court supervised camps
  • community youth programmes
  • supported bail programmes
  • supervision with activity

Preferred providers

The criteria and process for selecting preferred providers for the following Fresh Start programmes has been finalised:

  • Youth Court ordered mentoring programmes
  • Youth Court ordered parenting education programmes
  • Court supervised camps
  • Community youth programmes

A regional panel will assess and approve the applicants, and amend the preferred providers list as required. Applications can be made at any time, with panels meeting on a monthly basis to review any applications received.

More information is available in the application for preferred provider status



Early intervention programmes

In addition to the Fresh Start approach, the Break-Away package provides targeted help for young people at risk of poor outcomes, by increasing and improving the range of school holiday and youth development opportunities for young people whose families may not be able to provide them.

If you have any questions about the Break-Away programmes, please email:

Fresh Start Reforms in Operation report

A progress report on the implementation of the Fresh Start youth justice reforms, called Fresh Start Reforms in Operation was released on 20 July 2011.  

The report, which includes current trends in youth offending, shows there has been good progress on rolling out the new programmes and initiatives. While it's too early to make judgements on the effectiveness of the reforms, information gathered so far shows promise.

The report also highlights the work currently underway to support the improvement of the youth justice and child offender systems.  This includes ensuring there are strong monitoring systems in place to measure the effectiveness of interventions, and help inform future development of, and improvements to, programmes and initiatives.

More information

More information about Fresh Start is available on the Beehive website