Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has officially opened the first of 12 new supervised homes for troubled young people.
Each will cater for up to five seriously at-risk young people, aged from 12 to 17, who will be able to stay there for two to six months.
The houses will be under constant supervision, with residents given one-on-one mentoring and support for study and training.
The first to be opened is in the South Auckland suburb of Mangere. Another eight will be opened in the North Island and three in the South Island.
Ms Bennett says the homes are a more intensive alternative to houses run by foster carers, while also getting residents involved in the community.
It will cost $300 a day for each young person but she says she is confident they are the right thing to invest in.
The minister says the homes will provide an option for judges from October, when 12-year-olds start being tried in the Youth Court instead of the Family Court.