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Turner: Judge's comments on the mark

Tuesday, 25 May, 2004

Turner: Judge's comments on the mark

The recent call by Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft to split youth justice from CYFS was yet further recognition that the department's mandate was simply too broad, United Future's Judy Turner said today.

"Judge Becroft's comments were considered and measured and square with the overall United Future position of a radical shift from the current failed system," Mrs Turner, United Future's family affairs spokeswoman, said.

"As he rightly said, CYFS is failing to meet all of its statutory obligations, and we have said for some considerable time now, tinkering with CYFS is not going to fix it.

"CYFS is simply trying to cover too many bases, and the disaster stories just keep piling up when these failures have their toll in lost and destroyed lives," she said.

Last month, United Future launched a radical proposal for rebuilding our child protection structures, including the following:

* A dual track approach - comprising both a child protection and family support system. Split caseload between these tracks.

* Rebuild a child protection agency - working more closely with the police.

* Family Support co-ordinators able to do needs assessments and refer cases with lower level risks/needs to a range of NGOs and support systems.

* Develop Family Centres ("one stop shops") bringing together key services and involving the community.

* Public education campaigns promoting parenting skills - to be run by the Families Commission.

The Government announced its intention at the weekend to pilot family safety centres.

Ends.

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