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Concern over secret review of CYFS

Concern over secret review of CYFS

Green MP Sue Bradford is deeply concerned that yet another review of Child Youth and Family Services is underway - this time in relative secrecy, and without the involvement of the community sector.

Ms Bradford said today she had learned that a major "First Principle Baseline Review" was being conducted by the Government, looking closely at what the work of CYFS actually is and how its financial systems work.

"Heads of CYFS and the Ministry of Social Development are evidently involved, along with Treasury and MSD officials, looking at why CYFS continues to cost more and more to operate, while its outputs and outcomes fail to meet anyone's expectations.

"I have to ask where this review - conducted away from any glare of publicity, and without the involvement of the community sector - is actually going, and what it says about Social Services Minister Steve Maharey's faith in the Department," Ms Bradford said.

"I have heard on several occasions the Minister express confidence in CYFS. However, I am seriously beginning to wonder whether that confidence continues."

The Green Party's Social Services Spokesperson said she was also concerned that this year's financial review of CYFS had revealed that the same fundamental problems from the past remained unresolved.

"CYFS is caught up in a distressing "Groundhog Day" scenario, where the same key problems keep cropping up over and over again. This is despite the excellent Brown report of two years ago and the extra funding poured in by Government," she said.

"While commendable efforts are being made in a number of areas, there are still critical areas of concern. To name just a few: there is an ongoing lack of experience and qualifications among departmental social workers. There is a rise - again - in the number of unallocated cases; and a gross failure to meet the department's own performance standards, especially in the urgent and low-urgent categories.

"There is also a clear ongoing problem of lack of support for families before, during and after they have their children removed by the state; and a continuing shortage of beds in youth justice facilities leading to young people being kept in police cells far too often, and for far too long," Ms Bradford said.

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