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CYFS needs shake up from top down

CYFS needs shake up from top down

The Greens welcome the findings of the latest review into Child Youth and Family Services, but warn that money alone will not resolve the organisation's overwhelming systemic problems, Green MP Sue Bradford said today.

"Money is always being talked about as the source of CYFS problems, but it is clear that is only one factor. It is an organisation in systemic crisis, with changes needed from the top down," the Green Social Services Spokesperson said.

"The Baseline Review of CYFS released by Ruth Dyson today notes that in fact, some aspects of performance have got actually worse over 1999-2002 despite the injection of more money.

"So the big issue now is whether the Department will be capable of actually implementing the recommendations of the review," Ms Bradford said.

"Competent and visionary leadership is needed to make the changes necessary to break out of CYFS' endless cycle of recurring problems and crises.

"The review reveals a huge variation in the quality of social work practice, with too much focus on quantity over quality; combined with an urgent need for competent information and management systems.

"Incapacity in these areas is what leads to cases like Ron Burrows' 21-minute call to CYFS regarding Coral and Storm not being notified.

"I welcome the review recommendations and the inquiry into the Burrows case. But if CYFS is not radically sorted out soon, the deaths of more children may well be on this Government's hands," Ms Bradford said.

The Green Party revealed the Baseline Review was happening in March this year. "At the time, the review seemed to be a result of both the Government's lack of confidence in CYFS and CYFS lack of confidence in itself. This has been borne out by the results of the review."

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