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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 159417 Find in a Library
Title: Appraisal of the First Year of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989
Corporate Author: New Zealand Office of the Commissioner for Children
New Zealand
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: New Zealand Office of the Commissioner for Children
Thorndon, Wellington 04-711-410, New Zealand
Publication Number: ISBN 0-9597995-1-6
Sale Source: New Zealand Office of the Commissioner for Children
39 Pipitea Street
P.O. Box 12537
Thorndon, Wellington 04-711-410,
New Zealand
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: New Zealand
Annotation: Three papers describe some of the changes in juvenile justice as well as the care and protection procedures, statistics, and outcomes that have occurred since New Zealand's enactment of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act in 1989.
Abstract: The first paper examines the Family Group Conference (FGC) as an innovative method of involving families in statutory care and protection as well as juvenile justice processes. It discusses some of the potential problems of such an approach and some of the concerns that have been expressed to date. Advantages of the FGC are also considered. An FGC consists of the youth's family, any victims, a representative of the referral agency, and in some cases a social worker. As with care and protection cases, the FGC may make decisions and recommendations and formulate plans. These are recorded by the Youth Justice Coordinator, who then seeks the agreement of the enforcement agency. The primary concern of the FGC is to ensure that the offender is held accountable. The Act states that criminal proceedings should not be used to intervene in the life of juveniles for the sake of their welfare; however, care needs can be addressed and family support provided. The second paper presents 1990 statistical data on the disposition of children and young people under either the care and protection or youth justice provisions of the Act. In that year, 3,715 care and protection FGC's and 5,851 youth justice FGC's were held. Agreement as to a plan, recommendation, or decision was reached in 91 percent and 94 percent of these FGC's. The FGC plans are categorized in the paper so that a general view of the disposition of the children and young people can be gained. Caution should be used in interpreting these, however, since much of the effectiveness of FGC decisionmaking rests on the detail of the plans and the manner in which they are implemented. The outcome in terms of the child's or juvenile's well-being or the salutary effect of the process in other respects must be determined by further research. The third paper compares the pattern of juvenile crime in the last quarter of 1989 and the first quarter of 1990 with that which existed previously. The rate of detection and type of offending and the ethnicity, age, and gender distribution of the offenders were unchanged, but there was a sharp reduction in the number of arrests, court appearances, convictions, and court orders. The majority of offenders were dealt with by police warnings and diversionary measures, as well as by FGC's rather than by judicial processes. 5 figures and 6 tables
Main Term(s): Juvenile codes
Index Term(s): Family intervention programs; Foreign laws; Juvenile diversion programs; Mediation
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