Objective: This study aimed to address the lack of quantitative and qualitative data of at-risk young people’s needs, experiences and use of AoD, particularly in Alternative Education (AE) in West Auckland. The final report presents the aims, method and findings in a visual, empathy document for use by communities and decision makers to illustrate the realities of young peoples’ lives.  It aims to inspire thinking and create understanding that will lead to change.

What is it? The study involved surveying at-risk young people aged 14–24, followed by 21 narrative interviews. Ethics approval was gained for this study and the survey results published by Auckland Council’s Research, Evaluation and Monitoring Unit.

The report applies the Māori Health Model, Te Whare Tapa Wha to show how the young peoples’ environment and wellbeing impacted their use of alcohol or other drugs and the protective factors that buffered these impacts.

One salient finding was that young people identified ‘not feeling cared for’ as a contributing factor to their AoD use. Most importantly they identified a difference between having someone who cared and knowing someone cared about them - many did not know or think anyone cared about them.

Results to date

  • A separate report for the Waitakere AE Consortium enabled them to identify needs and discuss opportunities for their young people
  • The two reports influenced the development of a collective impact initiative established by all West Auckland Secondary School Principals, Waitakere AE and CAYAD, aiming to ensure young people achieve educational success
  • Presentations at conferences, with individuals and groups who work with young people
  • The report is used as a reference document and discussion tool for schools and organisations







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