COVID-19 - supporting youth clients

We know the COVID-19 situation is having widespread implications. We’re working with Youth Service providers so financial support continues and Youth Coach services continue, wherever possible.

This page has information for

  • Youth Service clients
  • Youth Service providers

The Prime Minister announced on Monday 23 March 2020 that New Zealand is moving to COVID-19 Alert System Level 4 at midnight on Wednesday 25 March 2020.

More MSD provider information

There’s also more information for others on our MSD website for people affected by COVID-19, including for individuals, young people who are not Youth Service clients, employers and providers here.

More Government information

For more information about COVID-19 and New Zealand’s response to it, please visit the Government’s official COVID-19 website here.

Information for Youth Service clients

We understand the current COVID-19 situation in New Zealand is difficult for many young people and may be worrying for you.

The Ministry is concerned for your safety and wellbeing and will continue to support you in the weeks ahead.

The Youth Service will continue to give you any financial support you are currently getting:

  • Youth Payments and Young Parent Payments continue as usual
  • Any new clients who may need Youth Payment or Young Parent Payments can apply online at MyMSD

Please contact your usual Youth Coach if you have any questions or concerns about your situation. Your Youth Coach is also your main contact for any case manager support.

Be aware that your Youth Coach may want to limit their contact with you to phone calls or other ways of keeping in touch. We know some community providers are trying innovative new ways of keeping in touch with their Youth Service clients.

You can check back here from time to time for any updates we may provide for our Youth Service clients.

You can also check the Ministry’s main website, for more general updates including for young people who are not currently Youth Service clients here.

You can send any questions to us here: community_information@msd.govt.nz

Information for Youth Service providers

We recognise our Youth Service providers will be changing how they deliver services following the announcement we’re moving to COVID-19 Alert System Level 4.

We recognise and support the innovations being shown by Youth Service providers as they continue to support young people who need it, while staying safe and healthy themselves.

Alert Level 4 includes limiting business to essential services. We want to provide you with information on what type of social services are deemed essential. 

Is the Youth Service an essential social service?

Essential social services at Alert Level 4 are those that meet one or more of the following four criteria.  Youth Service providers are providing essential social services.

  1. Where the social service is the only way for people accessing food and other goods they need to survive (eg, money management (but not budget advice), food banks, and other delivery of essential goods).
  2. A social service that provides and supports a place for someone to live (eg, Supported Accommodation, Housing First, Residences, Bail Hostels, Night Shelters, Family Homes, remand homes, foster carers of children in state care, resettlement services for recent migrants and refugees).
  3. A social service that supports disabled people to maintain critical wellbeing (eg, disability services for those with high needs or very high needs and excluding disability employment services).
  4. Crisis support for people who are unsafe (eg, Funded helplines, refuges and family violence services, foster care support services, sexual violence crisis services).

This is a preliminary list and is subject to review. We appreciate the efforts of Youth Service providers to maintain these essential services.

We will continue working with providers to make sure these essential services are available and delivered to our Youth Service clients in a way that maintains everyone’s health and safety and continues to be culturally responsive. 

Providing Youth Service continuity wherever possible

For services not covered above, you’ll need to work within your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans to decide what services will stop and what services your staff can continue to deliver from home. 

To provide some certainty over the next six months, the Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki will treat all NGO partners fairly if their contracted delivery of services is impacted by COIV‑19. If affected providers have to reduce services temporarily due to COVID-19, we will seek to maintain current funding levels for the period of the contract.

Answering your questions

To help answer any specific questions, we ask that you contact us at community_information@msd.govt.nz and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as we are able. We will provide you with updates and further clarity on essential social services in the coming days.