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Maharey Launches 'Circuit-Breaker' CYF Plan

Maharey Launches 'Circuit-Breaker' New Directions Plan For Child, Youth And Family

Child, Youth and Family’s New Directions plan is the circuit-breaker needed to take the Department confidently into the future, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey, accompanied by Child, Youth and Family (CYF) Chief Executive Jackie Brown and Former Principal Youth Court Judge Mick Brown, launched the change plan in Wellington this morning. It details how the Department plans to implement the Mick Brown report and how the additional resources given to CYF in the Budget will be used to support its rollout. CYF received an additional $216 million over the next four years.

Mr Maharey said he is confident that the various strands of the New Directions programme, coupled with the new funding in Budget 2001, will enable CYF to strengthen significantly the way it delivers its services.

“Child, Youth and Family staff do an enormous amount of hard work on behalf of the community. But it’s been clear for some time that they have been over-stretched and under-resourced.

"Budget 2001 demonstrated the strength of the Government's commitment to improving care and protection services for at-risk children and families with the biggest increase in baseline funding for any government department. The New Directions plan details how CYF will use those additional resources and the other parallel strategies under way to professionalise its staff and tackle unprecedented demand for its services.

“At New Directions’ core is the recognition that CYF needs to focus more on improving the long-term outcomes for at-risk children and their families, rather than simply providing immediate solutions to immediate problems. That way the ongoing well-being of children will be better supported and it will help us avoid the costs of repeated crisis interventions.

“Besides changing the way the department itself works, CYF will co-operate even more closely with community organisations providing help to at-risk families and work harder to mobilise everyone in the fight against child abuse and neglect.

"The New Directions programme, which draws heavily on the recommendations of the Brown report, aims to:

- improve professional social work practice;

- create a more seamless, integrated department;

- increase collaboration with communities; and,

- give regions greater decision-making power over resource allocation.

"Some of the specific aims of New Directions are to:

- reduce youth re-offending;

- reduce recurrence of harm to children and young people;

- improve well-being for children, young people and families; and,

- encourage a culture in which everyone takes responsibility for ending abuse and neglect.

"Child, Youth and Family is now working on the detail of implementing the New Directions strategy. It is also liasing with Treasury and the Ministry of Social Policy on establishing targets for measuring progress on implementing New Directions and the recommendations of the Brown Report.

"The Department has also established an external reference group to provide it with a sounding board as it implements Mick Brown's report and to provide greater public accountability that it is taking the steps needed to turn the corner.

“We’re all concerned about child abuse and neglect, we want a better deal for our vulnerable kids.

“As Mick Brown says, care and protection is about adult behaviour. The abuse and neglect of children, or tolerating abuse and neglect, must be stopped. To do that, it’s not enough to change the workings of a government department, we must change adult behaviour,” Steve Maharey said.

Attachments:

1. Child, Youth and Family Statement

2. Membership and role for the Department's External Reference Group

3. Summary of the New Directions strategy

Role and membership of the External Reference Group

An External Reference Group is to be appointed to provide Child, Youth and Family with a sounding board as it implements the New Directions programme and to provide greater public accountability that it is taking the steps needed to turn the corner.

The External Reference Group has been established to:

1. Provide professional advice to the Capability Development Manager, Craig Smith, and the Department on the New Directions programme as a whole and on significant individual projects.

2. Support and advocate for the programme both within and outside the Department.

3. Independently monitor the implementation of the New Directions programme.

Formal terms of reference will be signed off by the External Reference Group at their first meeting.

Reference Group Membership

The following organisations have been invited to provide a representative to join the External Reference Group:

- Family Law Section of the New Zealand Law Society

- Office of Commissioner for Children

- Public Service Association

- Child Policy Reference Group (an advisory group to the Ministry of Social Policy)

- Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers

- Te Komiti Arai Taki Manaaki (Maori Advisory Group to Child, Youth and Family)

- Pacific Peoples Reference Group

- Te Kaiahwina Ahumahi (the industry training organisation for social services)

- New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services

The External Reference Group is to hold its first meeting on 27 June 2001.


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