Discussions between Police Youth Aid Officers and START Taranaki identified a need for a programme that addresses youth offending at the earliest possible stage, before young people escalate in an offending cycle. Local Police Youth Aid indicated that throughout Taranaki there are young people who would benefit from targeted, effective intervention and long term support before escalation occurs.

S.T.A.R.T. EARLY is a new programme aimed to provide the necessary early intervention required by young people at risk of offending or repeat offending. The core of the programme is an intensive seven-week intervention. This is comprised of a three-week activity based stay at START and a four-week intensive community transition. Post-programme, a full years mentoring and follow-up support is delivered through the START Early Community Support Worker.

Youth Aid officers refer ‘high risk’ youth from across Taranaki to the programme on their first offence or when identified as being ‘at risk of offending’. This is generally as either part of a Police Alternative Action Plan, Family Group (FGC) Conference Plan or simply a referral and recommendation from the Police.


Provide the necessary early intervention, pro-social engagement, relationships and long-term support that fosters healthy environments for young men in Taranaki who are at risk of offending or reoffending, so they can lead productive and crime-free lives.



Empowered young men in Taranaki who contribute to safe, healthy and inclusive local communities.

“Friday (Graduation) was an incredible day and I was blown away with what you guys have achieved. You need to be very proud of yourselves and understand that to have a program like this on our door step is important and something we need to keep going.”
— Local Youth Aid Officer


Keys to Success

  • Relationships: Provide the relationships, positive role-modelling and unconditional care which are integral to the success of young people.
  • Collaboration: Provide wrap around support and opportunities to at risk young men in Taranaki through collaboration and strong networks with local services, government agencies and providers utilising one another’s strengths and expertise.
  • Ongoing Support: Surround at risk young men in Taranaki with care and inclusive environments for the duration of their journeys into adulthood.
  • Belief: An unfettered belief in the human capacity to succeed.
  • Skilled Staff: A team of skilled and professional team of staff, each capable of delivering these keys to success.