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CYF failures highlighted in tragic reports

Katherine Rich MP National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

17 December 2003

CYF failures highlighted in tragic reports

The names change - but the issues at CYF remain the same," says National Party Welfare spokeswoman Katherine Rich, responding to two damning reports into the deaths of Kelly Gush and Tamati Pokaia.

"CYF processes were found wanting in both cases, these children were denied the care and protection they deserved from this Government Department.

"There have already been too many apologies from CYF this year and it's hard to accept assurances from the Minister that the culture at the Department is changing," says Mrs Rich.

"The reports have found that Tamati Pokaia didn't get the routine follow up visits he was entitled to while concerns raised over the safety of Kelly Gush were not treated seriously by the Department.

"Like the cases of Saliel Aplin and Olympia Jetson there were communication breakdowns and departmental procedures were not always followed.

"It's clear in both these cases that social workers were weighed down by heavy caseloads.

"With record numbers of notifications now in front of the Department, the caseloads of experienced social workers are unlikely to ease," Mrs Rich says.

"Despite the clear attempts to shift blame from the Department, the Minister cannot continue to pass the buck and duck responsibility.

"Ruth Dyson's Government has had more than three years to implement the recommendations in Judge Mick Brown's report - recommendations that as time has shown, would have helped," says Mrs Rich.

"How many more children will die before Labour accepts that CYF needs more than just money and carefully crafted spin?" Ends


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