Creating a workflow that aims to respond to the unique needs of young people in Emergency Supports in Aotearoa New Zealand

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Muir, Abbie-Louise
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Professional Practice
Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga
Roodt, Henk
Forbes, Alexa
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
emergency housing
Oranga Tamariki
social work
Māori youth
Muir, A-L. (2023). Creating a workflow that aims to respond to the unique needs of young people in Emergency Supports in Aotearoa New Zealand. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice). Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology
This project undertaken as part of my Master Professional Practice was specifically designed to understand and improve outcomes for young people requiring Emergency Support in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Emergency Support is the term used for taking young people from their place of living into an emergency place – this is often a motel or hotel. A more fulsome explanation of this is provided in the Literature Review section. This work-based pragmatic research project drew on a multi-method approach to recognise the critical need for effective and efficient systems to address the immediate needs of vulnerable youth in crisis situations. The project integrated understanding and knowledge gathered from data utilising my experience, the literature, surveys, and a series of interviews with the young people themselves. The final output was a workflow that helps Social workers address deficiencies in the Emergency Support system and a report that brings together the understanding, data and knowledge that resulted from my explorations. The project began with a thorough review of existing literature, policies, protocols, and interventions for Emergency Support for young people in Aotearoa. Data was collected through surveys and interviews to measure the outcomes and identify areas for improvement. This data incorporated insights from key stakeholders, Social workers, community organisations, and young people, and sought to understand the current challenges and areas for improvement in the system. A key emphasis of the project was on promoting a youth-centred approach. The resulting workflow integrates overarching mana-enhancing principles which are crucial for effective practice. These principles are designed to foster the autonomy and agency of youth, promote transparent communication, and foster whānau (family) connection. The workflow aims to streamline, identify, and respond to young people in emergency situations, ensuring their safety, well-being, and access to appropriate support services. This project also sought to enhance understanding of my own professional practice as a front line Social worker. young people in crisis. This part of the process revealed deeper insights and learning that has strengthened my professional framework of practice. Empowered me to document my growing expertise in supporting and enhancing organisational practice and equipping me with knowledge and motivation for the potential opportunities that the future brings. As I worked through this project and my findings, three things became clear: 1. For the most part, rangatahi (teenagers) are being traumatized in the Emergency Support where they have sought sanctuary. 2. Tamariki(Children )are experiencing ongoing trauma within the care system with higher reoffending rates, and escalating problems. 3. Mana enhancing principles have the potential to empower young people. As I worked through this process however I found that at a high level my interview and survey data, and the literature were in strong alignment. What the research did was to delve deeper at a more nuanced level where the voices of the care experienced youth challenged some of the previous assumptions. I found that my originally selected methodologies, didn’t ‘fit’ as well as anticipated resulting in the need to take a dive into methodologies and uncovering an alternative way.
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