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CYF Out Of Its Depth With Young Offenders

CYF Out Of Its Depth With Young Offenders

Thursday 20 May 2004

Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases - Social Welfare

Media reports of a single teenager taking up an entire CYF Youth Justice section, and new information on the shortage of Youth Justice beds, highlights the need for the agency to be relieved of its Youth Justice duties, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have revealed that, as of March 31, there were 87 young people in CYF Youth Justice placements - at a time when, according to answers to another question - there were only 90 Youth Justice beds throughout the country," Dr Newman said.

"Recent media reports have also outlined cases of teenagers being forced to stay in police cells because of this shortage - yet, now, we learn that an Youth Justice section of a CYF facility is being taken up by a single teenager. This is completely unacceptable.

"The CYF model is no longer viable. Outdated and obsolete, the department is no longer able to deal with the problems created by a more complex society, increased family breakdown and welfare dependency. If it cannot even fulfil its core role of protecting vulnerable children, how can it be expected to handle such a troubled, violent youth?

"Last week, Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft highlighted the shortage of Youth Justice beds, and called for Youth Justice to be moved away from CYF. He was right. These young offenders need to be in the care of an agency that has the resources and ability to help them. If Youth Justice remains in CYF hands, these young people are destined to graduate from secure Youth Justice facilities to prison," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

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