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Child Welfare - Abuse Increase A Shameful Story

Child victims of sexual and physical abuse are being taken from their homes and placed into welfare care where they continue to suffer indignities - that’s the view of Auckland child rights advocate, Robert Ludbrook.

Ludbrook revealed his findings at a children’s rights conference in Dunedin - stating that children’s rights are being abused by CYPFA organised home workers, the people trusted with caring for children in state residential care.

He says many of these children are routinely strip searched, made to shower in public and are locked in rooms for long periods.

Ironically, Ludbrook says, some of these children are placed in the residential homes under care and protection orders because they have been sexually or physically abused by their families.

He says conditions are deteriorating for children in custodial care due to a lack of trained staff and few resources.

Ludbrook says residences are little better than junior prisons, and grievance procedures which were to have started last year have not been activated.

Grievance procedures were recommended by Children’s Commissioner Roger McLay after he issued an official inquiry into the case of a teenage boy who raped a two year old girl and other children while he was in CYPFA’s care at a Pukekohe Foster Home.

This case was the subject of a major Freelance New Zealand investigation. Ref to this link
http://www.scoop.co.nz/archive/scoop/stories/2d/f0/199806061311.6b3407.html

But the New Zealand Children Young Persons and Family Agency has revealed it is dealing with an extra 75 families in need of help every week - but states it is coping.

This abuse caseload increase is up 2 percent compared to last year.

Chief social worker, Mike Doolan, says the 75 new families show the huge task CYPFA officers are dealing with. While Mr Doolan says staff are coping, he admits they are under pressure.

The largest proportion of the workload arises from children disturbed due to drug and alcohol addictions or violence problems. CYPFA has found physical abuse accounts for 16 percent of cases, and sexual abuse makes up for 13 percent of the cases it deals with.

Child neglect remains the most prevalent form of child abuse. An education programme
will begin in August to target the problem.

Mr Doolan says at this stage CYPFA is clearing about as many cases as the number of new ones coming in.

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