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Maharey Responsible For Report Findings

The much talked about CYFS report due out tomorrow will inevitably point the finger at under-funding, and it's Steve Maharey who must take responsibility, National's Social Services spokesperson Bob Simcock said today.

"The crisis over the past 15 months, which has seen the numbers of at-risk children on waiting lists double, has been precipitated by the Minister, no one else.

"Mr Maharey will inevitably try to dodge the bullets by responding to Judge Brown's recommendations with spin about his Government increasing funding by $36 million in the last Budget. But in reality $27.2 million of that so-called new money had already been given to CYFS under National the previous year.

"Labour's actual funding boost - $8.8 million (plus an emergency $5.2 million injection in December) - did not even begin to cover the massive increase in referrals that occurred last year.

"Unallocated cases of at-risk children were stable under National at around 2,000. They have now blown out to 4,000. Mr Maharey cannot be allowed to escape responsibility for that.

"He has failed to respond to the forecast increases and the mounting pressure CYFS offices are under.

"The steps he and his Government have since taken have been largely window-dressing. We saw Tariana Turia tell Parliament that she was confident the few extra part-time social workers put into Hamilton would solve Hamilton's problems. They haven't!

"While the recent initiative with non-government agencies is a sensible measure, it will make little difference in the short-term as it is merely a shuffling around of limited resources.

"The survival of CYFS and the proper care of children requires a very urgent and substantial response from the Government," Bob Simcock said.


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