The Government has proposed changes to allow older teenagers continued access to youth welfare services has passed its first hurdle in Parliament.
The Government wants to change the law to ensure 19-year-old parents and at-risk 18- and 19-year-olds can get the support offered by the youth service, which includes help with paying bills, budgeting and parenting, and support to get into education.
"Youth service is proving to be very successful for those young people currently enrolled in the service, which is why were extending it to at-risk young people under 20," Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said.
"We want to help these young people realise their potential and help them back into education or find a job so they can go on and lead productive and fulfilling lives rather than struggling on a benefit.
"For many young people this means they will be able to receive Youth Service support for longer, helping them into education, training or work, and a more successful life."
The Social Security (Extension of Young Persons Services and Remedial Matters) Amendment Bill passed its first reading on Thursday 105 votes to 10, with Labour supporting it to the select committee stage.
At the end of June, there were 13,231 young people enrolled in the youth service.