A new Child, Youth and Family home being opened in Mangere today aims to divert unique because they included round-the-clock supervision and mentoring and aimed to change the behaviour of the residents and prevent them from taking a path to crime.
"For some of these young people it is about preventing that sort of behaviour and seeing that they’re … not committing crimes," the minister said.
"Putting these young people into youth justice residences isn’t going to give them all the gap between foster homes and youth justice facilities, which are essentially prisons for youths.
They are set up to be everyday houses in everyday communities, though the youths are not free to wander in and out unescorted.
They will follow a strict and structured programme that will include education or work during weekdays, and arts, cultural and sporting activities in the evenings and weekends.
Some will be home-schooled, others given training or help in finding work.
Family will be encouraged to visit the home and be a part of the programme.
Ms Bennett said it was in some ways similar to the Te Hurihanga programme, which the Government scrapped this year because it was too expensive.
The cost of keeping someone in the home is $338 a day, less than the $633 a day at Te Hurihanga.
"If we can stop them going on to adult jail, then it’s money well spent. But it’s not cheap," Ms Bennett said.
"It’s based on best evidence, something that is intensive and ongoing but also looks as real as possible, which is the best way for these young people."
By Derek Cheng