Some teenagers who are going through the Youth Court may stay in the community instead of being locked-up.
A new assessment centre at Child, Youth and Family's Auckland youth justice residence, Korowai Manaaki, is being trialled.
The centre brings together health, education and social workers, who make an assessment of a young person remanded after a first appearance.
CYF then passes that information to the court with a recommendation as to whether staying in custody is the best option, or whether community support is more effective.
Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows says restricted curfews, drug and alcohol counselling and mentors are options that could be used in the community.
He says the assessment carried out identifies risk more effectively.
Mr Borrows says removing people from their communities can only ever be a last resort.