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CYFS Services Poor - Maharey

Embargoed until midnight, 13 January 2000

CYFS briefing papers reveal poor state of services

The Minister of Social Services and Employment, Steve Maharey, has criticised the previous National government for running down care and protection services for young people and families at risk. Mr. Maharey today released post-election briefing papers prepared by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS).

“These papers confirm my long-held view that the previous National government was running down CYFS services. They paint a picture of a department which is seriously stretched. This is the key government agency which people and families in crisis come to for help. It’s obvious that the previous government chose not to regard them as the priority they must be in a caring society.

“CYFS stands out as one of the agencies that most needs attention by the new Government. I am committed to strengthening the Department so that it can respond effectively to children and families in real need.

“The Government has a comprehensive policy agenda to provide active social services which builds the capacity of all New Zealanders to participate fully in our society. These include:
 a children’s agenda to put children’s needs at the heart of our social services
 giving the Commissioner for Children the independence he needs to properly fulfil the roles his Office was established for
 strengthening care and protection services, including adequately resourcing the Family Group Conference process
 improving youth justice services
 establishing a system of professional registration for social workers
 developing an agreement with voluntary social service organisations which defines how they and Government agencies work together
 promoting initiatives to build strong local communities.

“The Government realises that turning around the pattern of social service provision in New Zealand will be a long term project. Our policies are designed to make steady progress towards this key objective”, Steve Maharey said.

Contact: Michael Gibbs, Press Secretary, (04) 471 9154 or (021) 368 100

Copies of the Child, Youth and Family post-election briefing papers are available from the Minister’s office. Contact Michael Gibbs, Press Secretary, (04) 471 9154 or (021) 368 100.

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