Youth Forensics



    Youth Forensics

    He waka eke noa

    A canoe which we are all in with no exception

    Nau mai, haere mai and welcome to the Youth Forensics Workforce Development Project

    The Youth Forensics Project at Whāraurau is dedicated to nurturing the skills and knowledge of kaimahi who are engaging with taiohi at risk of involvement with youth justice, forensic , mental health and AOD services.

    Collectively both He Ara Oranga : Report of the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction (2018) and Kia Manawanui Aotearoa: Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (2019) confirmed the significance of workforce development, wherein a competent workforce is understood as crucial for accomplishing the objectives related to preventing mental health and addiction issues and averting escalation due to unmet needs.

    Data suggests that, in most instances, rangatahi involved with youth forensic services have previously engaged  with multiple services, including mental health, AOD, care and protection, youth justice, and broader social services. This highlights the critical need to prioritise workforce development opportunities for kaimahi across various services.

    The prevalence of neurodevelopmental differences, foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and exposure to trauma in the youth offender population in Aotearoa is under-researched. Despite this gap in research, anecdotal evidence suggests that these factors, are significantly over-represented in rangatahi involved with youth justice and youth forensic services.  Consistent with overseas research, this combination of factors likely affects 60-90% of young offenders. Moreover, it is associated with an elevated risk of substance misuse and mental health issues.

    A workforce that is empowered with the knowledge and the tools to address these intersecting factors early on, through appropriate interventions, support systems, and therapeutic approaches is seen as crucial in mitigating risk and promoting improved outcomes for these young people and their whanau.  


    Real skills plus

    The Youth Forensics Workforce Development Project encourages and supports individuals and organisations working in the sector to undertake Real Skills Plus online assessment (available here

    RSP identifies areas of strength and areas for professional development , complementing and adding to existing frameworks of practice relevant to the sector.

    Please contact us here if you are an individual or an organisation who would like to explore further how RSP can support professional development 


    Professional development opportunities, resources, and research  

    Browse the tiles below for research, resources and professional development opportunities aimed at enhancing professional growth and emphasizing the immense value of your mahi


    Youth forensics project events


    Youth justice resources and reports


    FASD, neurodiversity e-learning, resources and reports


    Rainbow rangatahi reports + resources