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Tragic Failure By Out-Dated Agency

Tragic Failure By Out-Dated Agency

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today called for an urgent inquiry into CYF, and demanded that the agency be modernised to ensure that no more children, like Kelly Gush, are failed by Government agencies.

"This is yet another tragic failure by a department charged with the protection of children - what is more disturbing is that police and the Children's Commissioner's office were also aware of the concerns surrounding Kelly Gush before her death," Dr Newman said.

"Three departments, all charged with protection, have failed - and incidents such as this are no longer unusual, they are becoming far more common. While each department sits back, constrained by legislation and their independence, children are increasingly at risk.

"The current CYF structure has become obsolete - it must be revamped in order to deal with the problems of today, and welfare agencies must work more closely. What is needed is a community-based `one-stop shop' - charged with keeping children safe - linking education, health, welfare and police.

"Such an agency would better enable information to be shared, and as well as allowing early intervention strategies to effectively aid children and families.

"We must break this pattern of disaster and failure. It is time to make some hard decisions in order to protect our children. A modern agency and effective legislation are imperative, to ensure authorities can intervene and save children who would otherwise become tragic headlines in our newspapers," Dr Newman said.

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