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Youth Justice Budget Must Not Be Wasted

Youth Justice Budget Must Not Be Wasted

Tuesday 18 May 2004 - Dr Muriel Newman

"CYF has already shown itself to be struggling with the job of handling young offenders - often not even having enough Youth Justice beds to take them, and leaving these troubled youths to remain in police cells," Dr Newman said.

"While pouring taxpayers' money into problems seems to be Labour's staple practice, it is not the answer. As with social welfare and health, ACT believes better organisation and proper management - not necessarily more money - is the answer.

"The problem we have is that New Zealand's child welfare agency model is no longer able to cope with the more complex and troubled society we have become, and it is imperative that the agency be modernised.

"Youth Justice responsibilities should be taken over by a separate youth division of the police, as should the forensic investigation side of child abuse. CYF should then be modernised and re-built into a one-stop family-based agency with a focus on the care and protection of children.

"Unless new spending in the Youth Justice area is properly directed and focussed, there is a real danger that it will fail to be effective. It could be wasted, with young people still falling through the cracks," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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