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Ministry rolling out failed CYFS pilot scheme

Media Statement
For immediate release
Tuesday, 27 July, 2004

Turner: Ministry rolling out failed CYFS pilot scheme

A failed CYFS pilot scheme to ascertain the needs of at-risk families, and the community services available to them, is being flicked over to the Ministry of Social Development to run as an expanded version, United Future's Judy Turner revealed in Parliament today.

The Local Services Mapping initiative was trialled by CYFS for two years at six sites, and was supposed to comprise five phases to map out the needs and corresponding services required in local areas.

"However, not one of the six pilots completed three of their five phases, and one even failed to complete the first phase," Mrs Turner, United Future's welfare spokeswoman, said.

"If they can't complete six pilot programmes, how can the Government have the slightest confidence that the full roll-out of mapping across 20 sites by the new Family and Community Services Group will be completed, and be of any use at all?"

Mrs Turner is also sceptical that the new Family Services Group, set up by the Ministry of Social Development as part of the Baseline Review to relieve pressure on CYFS, will co-ordinate the vital preventative services for families at the ground-level where it really counts.

Citing other documents obtained under the Official Information Act, Mrs Turner said the sum total of the Family Services Group's work since last year appears to be establishing 23 new national and regional management jobs, compiling a list of organisations and developing a website.

"They also seem to have spent a lot of time dreaming up such helpful and illuminating concepts as 'families as nested wholes', and the goal that people should be 'comfortable in their own skins'."

In April this year, United Future announced its proposal to tear down the current structure of CYFS and replace it with the kind of dual-track model for family support services that has already proven successful in Canada, the United States and Australia.

In response, the Government assured the country that they already had the situation in hand, through the development of the Family Services Group.

"But what these documents show is that the Government has made a poor start in rebuilding the capability to combat child abuse and neglect at the community level, and still hasn't figured out where it is heading," Mrs Turner said.

Ends.


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