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Turner: Who can back CYFS?

Turner: Who can back CYFS?

Government minister Steve Maharey was asked in Parliament today how he could possibly have confidence in CYFS' ability to look after the 4700 children in its care when its charges now regularly die because of procedural breaches and ignored reports and recommendations.

United Future family affairs spokeswoman Judy Turner took up the December report on the deaths of Tamati Pokaia, 3, and Kelly Gush, 12, whose cases were buried in a report released on the eve of Christmas.

"Mistakes are costing lives; procedures are being ignored; social workers are doing their own thing and casting aside reports - CYFS is a shambles, but tragically, it is a shambles that is costing lives," Mrs Turner said.

"There is review upon review, but the only things that really change are the names that, one by one, add to our litany of national shame.

"And CYFS is irrevocably, irredeemably a part of that tragedy," she said.

"If this Government retains confidence in CYFS, then it should face the fact that the people of New Zealand have long since lost confidence that this department can protect children at risk," Mrs Turner said.

"If CYFS workers had made the required bi-monthly visits to caregivers, then perhaps Tamati would not have been kicked to death by the man CYFS chose to care for him, Michael Waterhouse.

"If they had provided a coherent, explicit and documented case management strategy, he might not have found himself placed for an eighth time into the home of the man that killed him.

"And if case workers had given more credence to the grave concerns of both counsel for the child and specialist mental health services, then perhaps Darran Mackness might not have kicked Kelly to death for throwing up while eating her dinner," Mrs Turner said.

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