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Unallocated Cases Doubled

Unallocated Cases Doubled

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today released new information showing that the number of unallocated cases of potential child abuse held by the Department of Child, Youth and Family have more than doubled in the past year.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary Questions have shown that, between August 31 2003 and August 31 2004, the number of unallocated cases held by CYF more than doubled, rising from 1,944 to 3,962," Dr Newman said.

"That is 2,018 more children at risk of being abused - or worse - waiting until CYF social workers can get around to investigating their situation.

"These figures, showing a 108 percent increase in the number of cases of potential child abuse remaining unallocated, raise the very serious accusation that the Government is inadequately managing the difficult and challenging child welfare portfolio.

"In the past, Labour has given us tough talk about how it will get on top of these problems, but these figures show that it is failing.

"Each unallocated case represents a child at risk of abuse, who is not being assigned a social worker. No one is looking into their case, assessing their needs, or keeping them safe. They are simply sitting on the Government's ever-growing waiting list of children needing professional assistance and support.

"Given the department's own admission - that many children categorised as `urgent' or `non-urgent' cases are the victims of sexual abuse - this growth in the waiting list, five years after Labour took office, is nothing less than a scandal. We should be ashamed to say that we have a Government that is failing the most vulnerable children in our society," Dr Newman said.

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