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Troubled Children Just Walking Out

Troubled Children Just Walking Out

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today accused Child, Youth and Family of failing to keep troubled children and young people safe in their care, after answers to Parliamentary Questions revealed more than 50 young people had absconded from CYF centres in the year to January 2003.

"Figures released by Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey, in response to my Parliamentary Questions, show that, in the year to January 2003, 56 young people had absconded from CYF centres without permission," Dr Newman said.

"CYF centres are used as a last resort for vulnerable and troubled children and young people who need professional care. Yet these answers show that the Government department with the statutory responsibility of caring for, and protecting, these children, is failing in its duty.

"Worse, some of these young people have been on the run for more than two weeks, with one missing for 35 days. This is simply not good enough. It is a symptom of a flawed system.

"I am calling on the Minister to tell New Zealanders what changes he intends to make to ensure that all of those children and young people who are placed in CYF residences do not abscond, but remain safely in care" Dr Newman said.

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