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Payment To Porirua Woman

26/2/01

Child, Youth and Family is making a payment to Porirua woman Frances Ruwhiu who was treated harshly while a state ward decades ago.

Chief social worker Mike Doolan says the department generally only makes such payments to people who can show they were harmed because the state breached legal responsibilities to them while they were children in social welfare care.

“In our opinion, Frances would have difficulty in establishing that such a breach of legal duty has occurred in her case, which obviously happened well before the department or its more immediate predecessors came into existence. However, this woman went through such a terrible time while in foster care that we felt we had a moral responsibility to offer her at least some financial compensation from the state.

“It must be pointed out that in the seven years I have been involved in such matters, I have not approved any other payment for moral reasons to any person who was in the care of the department and this gives some indication as to the extraordinary circumstances Frances faced.

“I have also extended an apology on behalf of the state for the treatment she received while in care.”

Mr Doolan says the department has never made the settlement dependent on the woman not speaking about her experiences to the media. “There’s no way we could do that. We have asked, however, that the size of the settlement be kept confidential. That is our usual practice in such settlements as we want to
a) stop people being approached over the money they've been awarded.
b) not create an expectation that a particular sum can be expected by other potential claimants
“We’re a state agency after all, responsible for taxpayers' money.”


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