For Ella Howatson, supporting young people and advocating for their needs and is all part of an average day’s work.
Ella has been with Ara Poutama Aotearoa for three and a half years and is currently an Adviser - Prison Population Youth. Her role involves working jointly with Oranga Tamariki to ensure the most suitable placement for young people and young adults in the Justice System.
“We also ensure that young adults in our custody are accessing available supports such as bail, the Transition Support Service or youth units.
Recently we have been working with agencies across the justice sector to improve our processes in court to avoid exposure to an adult facility and prioritise community placement options.”
A big positive for Ella in working in the youth space at Ara Poutama Aotearoa is that she’s not alone, with a network of others who share her passion.
“Before I started at Ara Poutama Aotearoa, I didn’t realise there was a Youth Champion Network made up of people who are passionate about providing support and improving outcomes for the young Adults and Young people within Corrections’ management.
This network is made up of staff (mostly frontline) from across Aotearoa New Zealand who are passionate about amplifying the voices of young adults, who are arguably the most vulnerable in our custody.”
One of Ella’s highlights during her time at Ara Poutama Aotearoa has been seeing a drop in the young adults and young people within the youth and adult jurisdiction. She’s also seen an increase in awareness around the needs of this age group, especially with the implementation of young adult list courts.
“There is still a long way to go and hopefully we will see this trend continue.”
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