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National wanted to cut funding to CYFs

National wanted to cut funding to Child, Youth & Family

National wanted to cut funding to the Department of Child, Youth and Family despite knowing it was struggling to keep up with demand for its services, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey told Parliament this afternoon.

Mr Maharey revealed advice from the Department of Child, Youth and Family that the previous Government made provision for around $30 million less funding for the coming financial year than it had for this year. Child, Youth and Family has been experiencing significant increases in demand for its services. Mr Maharey said the new Government had been shocked to discover the financially vulnerable position the Department had been left in.

"Child, Youth and Family is a new department charged with delivering care and protection and youth justice services to at risk children and young people and their families.

"Upon examination of the Department's financial situation it has become clear that National left the department seriously exposed. National proposed that Child, Youth and Family should receive around $30 million less than it has struggled to operate on this year.

"If these cuts were allowed to stand the Department would have to sack 65 social workers, significantly reduce the number of bed-nights able to be provided for children requiring care and we would have to stop all work implementing the Youth Services strategy, affecting 500 children in care.

"National included these funding cuts as 'fiscal risks' in the pre-election fiscal and economic update. This is totally unsatisfactory. At a time when the number of children needing care is increasing by 12% annually it is beholden on governments to ensure that these services are available when they are required.

"I have been working very hard through the budget process to ensure that Child, Youth and Family is able to respond to the needs of children and families at risk. Labour and the Alliance are committed to providing responsive and professional social services," Steve Maharey said.

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