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Celebrating Families

Celebrating Families

Judith Collins Family and Welfare Spokesperson
17 August 2005

Working Hard for Families

Mileage costs covered for workers for homecare

The National Government will reimburse homecare workers for their mileage costs from April 1 2006. National sees this as a matter of urgency to ensure our elderly and disabled get reliable and quality care. The cost has been estimated at around $19 million in a full year, a lot cheaper than rest home and hospital care. It also gives older and disabled people the choice to stay in their own homes with community support; often a preferred option. Due to recent fuel hikes, providers have reported staff resignations. This is simply unacceptable in a sector already under strain. District nurses, Plunket nurses, Midwives, Nurse Assistants and Hospital Aids are provided with a car or mileage rates. Even MPs are paid the IRD mileage rate. It seems reasonable that homecare workers should be given a break.

National will address this inequality and sees it as a starting point for considerable investment in the sector that cares for those who are among our most vulnerable. National plans to make quality aged-care services a point of difference at this election.

Vulnerable young lives at risk under Dyson

Vulnerable children continue to be jeopardized by a Minister who refuses to accept there are serious problems within her department. The Department of Child Youth and Family has now admitted that it knew Otis Auelea had been missing from a CYF approved camp for two days before bothering to notify the police. If a parent did not notify the police of a missing child for days, New Zealanders would rightly consider that parent unfit. The situation should be no different when it is a state agency that has acted negligently. Six days after he went missing, Otis was found drowned.

As the Minister responsible for CYF, Ruth Dyson must admit that the department, under her leadership, is unfit to care for our most vulnerable children. The first step on the road to redemption would be fresh leadership of CYF. Ms Dyson has displayed no empathy for the family of Otis Auelea. Only after nine months and sustained pressure from opposition politicians and the media has she even called for an inquiry. How many more children will lose their lives before Ruth Dyson finally accepts that CYF is not moving towards ‘performance excellence’ and is actually a department in crisis? Neither Ms Dyson nor her department has apologised to the family.

CYF plays pass the parcel with children

New figures show CYF is playing a sick game of pass the parcel with New Zealand children. Answers to parliamentary questions show the number of children in CYF care who have been placed in three or more homes within 12 months has increased dramatically compared to previous years.

- 2004/2005 - 70 children aged two and under were placed in three or more foster homes.
- 2003/2004 - 33 children aged two and under were placed in three or more foster homes.
- 2002/2003 - 12 children aged two and under were placed in three or more foster homes.
- 2004/2005 - 585 children aged 13 and under were placed in three or more foster homes.
- 2003/2004 - 516 children aged 13 and under were placed in three or more foster homes.
- 2002/2003 - 424 children aged 13 and under were placed in three or more foster homes.

The children under two moving from home to home is the most upsetting. These are kids who need the most stability and care, but they are not getting it. They have been caught in a tragic game of pass the parcel. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been poured into CYF, which is still lurching from one crisis to the next. Ruth Dyson must front up on this issue.

Focus on families I am pleased to see people responding positively to National’s focus on the family. The public recognises the significance this election can have on families. It is time we were led by a National Government focused on the importance of the family.

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