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Ruth Dyson's office breaches children's privacy

Ruth Dyson's office breaches children's privacy

National Party Social Services spokeswoman Katherine Rich is questioning how safe the public's personal details are following the release of more than 1300 children's names in an answer about CYF foster placements.

"This is a gross breach of privacy. I have never seen a worse instance of it from a Minister of the Crown," Mrs Rich says.

The names were attached to an electronic spreadsheet which listed the number of foster placements per child on a region-by-region basis. As well as naming the children, it also identified their caregiver and the local CYF office.

"I don't know why the Minister's office should have that information at all. It was certainly not relevant to the question I asked, which was how many CYF children had been in three or more foster homes in the past year.

"The answer - 1354 - was bad enough, but I was stunned when I saw the Minister's office had given me all their names.

"Ruth Dyson should issue an immediate apology to the children and their caregivers. I appreciate that her office has been under a lot of stress given her recent 'technically correct' answers, but this is inexcusable.

"This is a Government that forced former prison boss Celia Lashlie to resign at the first hint that she might have broken the confidence of one child. What happens with such a blatant breach of the privacy of 1354 children?"

Mrs Rich has contacted the office of the Clerk of the House and Ms Dyson's office to alert them to the privacy breach.

"If we had not caught this information, it would have been published on the Internet within a few days," says Mrs Rich.

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