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Turner: Fine Words, Actions Awaited

Media Statement
For immediate release
Monday, 23 August, 2004

Turner: Fine words, actions awaited

Social Development Minister Steve Maharey's call for community answers to child abuse would ring truer if the Government actually took meaningful steps to involve community services in helping, rather than just talking about it, United Future's Judy Turner said today.

Commenting on the Social Development Ministry report released yesterday, Mrs Turner said Mr Maharey was right to highlight child abuse as the most serious issue - "but that is a long way from constructively doing something about it - and Labour has had nearly two terms to get its act together."

A number of United Future proposals are now getting back-door acceptance and would make a huge difference if implemented, Mrs Turner said.

In April, United Future proposed tearing down CYFS and replacing it with a dual-track model similar to ones that have already proven successful in Canada, the United States and Australia.

After initial screening, a family is referred down one of two tracks - a child protection stream for cases with a high risk of physical or emotional harm or a family support stream for lower risk cases, where existing NGO and community services would be used to help families.

In answers to written parliamentary questions, the department has admitted it is looking at the possibility of amending the CYPF Act to allow it to contract out some services to community agencies to deal with the massive backlog of unallocated cases.

"United Future has consistently called for exactly that," Mrs Turner said.

And CYFS has also said it is surveying overseas child protection models - United Future has already done this and provided its proposal, she said.

"The Baseline Review is a year old now. We're still waiting for the Government to put in place the real solutions that we have provided." United Future's full and detailed proposal is available at:

http://www.unitedfuture.org.nz/reform-of-cyf.pdf

Ends.


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