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CYFS Review Only Looking at Repairing Ambulance

The Minister of Social Services is today being reminded that the inquiry into CYFS is only looking at repairing the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff and the wider problem of why so many children are neglected and at risk must not be ignored.

ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said that Mick Brown’s review of the service was welcome as it was clear from the ongoing tragedies involving children in CYFS care that a thorough review of the service was needed. However, Muriel Newman said CYFS problems had to be viewed against the staggering background of increased referrals CYFS were having to cope with that were symptomatic of the wider problem.

“Last year 24,000 notifications were made to CYFS. This year the number of notifications has increased by 3,000 to 27,000. CYFS is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff trying to rescue close to 30,000 children who are toppling over.

“The Minister must put his energies into social policies that stem the tide. The real problem is the epidemic of family breakdown that New Zealand is suffering. If current trends continue half of European and nearly ¾ of all Maori infants under 12 months will be in families where there is no father by the year 2010.

“An easy step for the Minister to take is to support legislation like the Shared Parenting Bill that will ensure children’s rights to keep equal contact with both of their loving parents after separation and divorce.

“But more than that, the Minister has to stop procrastinating and get on with outlining his legislative programme to strengthen and support families,” said Muriel Newman.

ENDS

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