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National Can't Dodge CYF Responsibility

28 February 2001

National Will Not Be Allowed To Dodge Responsibility For The Run Down Of Child, Youth And Family - Maharey

Attempts by National's social services and employment spokesperson Bob Simcock to dodge responsibility for running down social work services over the 1990s do him and his party no credit, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Mr Maharey will tomorrow release the reviews by former Principal Youth Court Judge Mick Brown of Child, Youth and Family procedures and the Government's response. A key finding is that the lack of resources faced to the Department over a significant period of time has had a serious impact on service delivery. Mr Maharey said it was incredible Mr Simcock would attempt to pretend otherwise.

"National have nowhere to hide on this issue. They ran social work services down to a point where there was real concern that Child, Youth and Family would be unable to do the job taxpayers expect of it.

"Bob Simcock and the National Party will not be allowed to rewrite history.

"In contrast this Government has been very active at turning this Department around, including:
* in our first Budget we provided restored Child, Youth and Family's baseline and invested additional resources at a cost of $36m in year one, rising to $40m in year four;
* Mick Brown was commissioned to report on how effective the Department's procedures are, assess their strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations on improvements;
* providing a further $5.4m injection to enable the Department to purchase additional care for at-risk children and introduced a $2.25m violence prevention package.

"Last year the New Zealand public was sickened by high profile child abuse cases and began to report suspected abuse and neglect in record numbers to Child, Youth and Family. This is a good thing but it has obviously had an impact on the Department's workload. The Government's response to Mick Brown's report which I will be releasing tomorrow will clearly show we are committed to rebuilding the Department and providing timely and professional services," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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