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There is nothing better than practical ideas on how practice can change outcomes. These stories are real examples showing how PARTH can change practice with youth. If you are using PARTH in your practice we would love to include your stories. You can email a draft to us and we will work with you and your agency to ensure proper permissions. Please email any feedback on these stories and PARTH.
Johnny was a patched member of a gang following in the footsteps of his dad and older brother. His younger brother who was living with him was wanting to prospect. He had some earlier involvement with our agency, and his partner was also using our services. He had enough of the gang life and was thinking of big changes including leaving the gang and starting a new life with his children who were in state.
His involvement with our agency went from when he was 14 – 24. Over this time he would be in and out of contact and sometimes missed appointments and not be heard from for months. However, every time he re-engaged he was welcomed, not judged for his non-attendance or questioned on where he had been. He could continue relationships both with the wider service and individual practitioners. These relationships were enduring and long term and would continue based on the issues he wanted addressed. Sometimes he was just wanting to talk and catch up. One time we stored some of his gear - a single plastic bag. He stated on more than one occasion that our organisation was the only positive consistent thing in his life.
He was happy to engage with our practitioners as he felt respected as a person. He enjoyed talking to someone who knew and understood his world without being shocked or curious. The confidentiality of conversations meant he was able to discuss serious issues that he wanted dealt with.
The practitioner’s engagement included taking him to probation so he didn’t miss appointments and get rearrested (he lived out of town, had no licence or car so no practical way of attending), talking to probation so his appointment time would be when other gang members were not there. These types of responses to individual circumstances that were relevant and responsive to his situation meant he felt respected and enhanced the relationship.
He had missed a lot of schooling and his literacy and numeracy was limited. This had meant he was too whakama/embarrassed to apply to WINZ and banks etc and when he did he would often get aggressive when he felt he would be found out. The ability of the staff to go with him and both assist and advocate for him meant he was able to access services previously denied.
At one point when he was in trouble with his gang for wanting to leave, our involvement including helping him to find accommodation in a safe place out of the area and keep regular contact via phone.
In the end he did manage to leave and reconnected with his dad. Each part of the PARTH model was used in supporting Johnny. The respect given to him as a person (not just a gang member) the ongoing relationships, the relevant understanding of his life, world and story and the practical responses all helped him make the choices he wanted to make to his life and journey. He is now moving on with his life safely in another location.
Resilience Research Centre NZ - Youth Research Site 2013