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BUDGET 2001: At-risk children and families

24 May 2001

Improving care and protection services for at-risk children and families

"The budget delivers a substantial funding boost to the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services reflecting the high priority the Government assigns to the care and protection of at-risk children and young people," Minister of Social Services and Employment Steve Maharey said today.

CYFS will receive an additional $184.4 million over the next four years [$36.2 million in 2001-02] to implement the recommendations of Mick Brown's report, Care and Protection is about Adult Behaviour.

"The Department's change plan, New Directions, to be released next month, will set specific milestones for lifting the Department's performance," Mr Maharey said.

"Improving professionalism is a central aim of this package. $28.8 million over the next four years has been allocated to address staff recruitment and retention issues.

"The Government will also legislate to introduce a system of professional registration for social workers. A Registration Board will be set up this year to develop the registration process. It is expected that the Board will become self-funding from registration fees."

Other measures include [funding is for four years unless specified]:
- a one year injection to establish dedicated mobile response teams to deal to the backlog of unallocated cases;
- $56 million to meet anticipated significant growth in the demand for care services for at-risk children and young people;
- improvements in care management, and the hiring of more social workers;
- $28.4 million to provide and develop services for children with high and complex needs [funded jointly with education and health]; and,
- additional operating expenditure of $37.6 million and capital expenditure of $25 million to build new purpose-built residences for the care of young people with particular conditions such as conduct disorder.

"Funding is also provided to continue the five community programmes for Maori Youth at Risk of Offending and the Wraparound Programme [$6.2 million] and to prevent youth suicide [$2.8 million].

"This package, together with strong support from community agencies and the public, provides CYFS with the foundation it needs to carry out its vital role of helping those children most in need of our care and protection," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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