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Residences Criticisms Already Dealt With

July 8, 1999

CYPFA completely rejects a claim that its residences for children and young people are little more than "junior prisons" and says other criticisms have already been dealt with.

"The criticisms raised by Auckland lawyer and youth advocate Robert Ludbrook are old hat," says CYPFA's chief social worker Mike Doolan.

"I cannot emphasise enough that it was our own internal review processes that identified there had been a number of problems at our residences in 1998. We acted swiftly to correct these problems. If media check their records, they will see we released this information publicly ourselves in May.

"Why Robert Ludbrook chooses to raise these outdated criticisms at a conference in July is beyond me. It is insulting to the dedicated CYPFA staff who work in our residences with some of the most difficult children in the country. Our staff deserve the support of the community for the work they do, not carping from ill-informed critics."

Mr Doolan also took issue with Robert Ludbrook's reported comment that children and young people were in the residences simply because they had been physically or sexually abused.

"That is rubbish. Children and young people are only placed in residences because their behaviours cannot be managed elsewhere. They may have been abused but this is not why they will have been placed in a residence."
It is also completely wrong to claim the residences are little more than junior prisons, says Mr Doolan.

"Residences are not jails. They are for children in need of care and protection because of their difficult behaviour or for young people involved with the youth justice system.

"The residences offer programmes aimed at addressing the problems children and young people have, as well as normal education services."

Another claim was that grievance procedures had not been put in place.

"The report we released earlier this year noted grievance panels had been set up in all areas, although concerns were raised at one site about the speed grievances were followed through. We have already reminded managers of the need to respond in a timely way," says Mr Doolan.

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