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Working alongside youth to make positive change

12 May 2022
Youth Week 2022 Showcasing Our Stories Abby 1688x1216px v2

When asked what makes her smile at work, for Case Manager Abby Milner it’s all about getting to see positive change in people and their whānau.

“It’s amazing hearing from whānau around the changes they see in their loved ones and telling us it is due to the supports and opportunities they have while with us.”

Abby is a Kaiwhakahaere Kēhi (Case Manager) focused in maximum security at Auckland Prison. Her role involves supporting people, including rangatahi, in their rehabilitation and reintegration pathways. In her day to day, she interviews people about their goals, writes reports for the New Zealand Parole Board and engages with various stakeholders (for example, in Health, Psychology, Tāhū o te Ture the Ministry of Justice and Community Corrections).

“An ongoing highlight is hearing [from people] that they feel safe and that they can progress and achieve their goals, working alongside you.” 

In her role as a case manager, Abby has been able to work alongside young people as they’ve made positive changes in their lives. For this year’s Youth Week, she tells us about an example of a young person who she worked with for four years. During that time, he engaged with Corrections programmes and worked with a psychologist.

“We supported his rehabilitative pathway with engagement with the Te Kupenga model, which is a wraparound culturally supportive model that engages his whānau in communications/ planning during each step of his progression.

He was successfully released and has been out for some time now, having now secured a part time job, a girlfriend and had a baby. This is amazing from someone who spent most of his formative years in boys’ homes and secure residences, before coming to prison”.

Supporting youth to reach their potential has been a common thread for Abby throughout her career – before she worked at Ara Poutama Aotearoa, she worked as Youth Worker. Unsurprisingly, she is a big believer in this year’s theme of Youth Week: “Our voices matter, and we deserve to be heard!”

“I am very passionate in the area of people being heard and others listening and actioning things to support our rangatahi. It’s important that we not only listen to their words but also look for hidden meanings, read body language and if someone is not acting like their usual self, asking if something is upsetting them and they need further support.

I think it’s important that we regularly kōrero with our rangatahi kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face) and ask them how we can walk alongside them.”

Abby is looking forward to seeing what the future holds for her at Ara Poutama Aotearoa.

“My goal continues to be in the rangatahi/ negotiator/ high risk space but I’m open to any new opportunities to progress my learnings and growth mindset.”


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