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How will merger fix CYF caseload crisis?

Judith Collins MP - National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

12 March 2006

How will merger fix CYF caseload crisis?

National Party Welfare spokeswoman Judith Collins says Labour needs to explain how the merger of Child Youth and Family with the Social Development Ministry will improve results for at-risk kids.

The latest answers to Parliamentary questions show that at the end of last year, hundreds of urgent cases remained unallocated for months and seven remained unallocated for four months after they were first received.

Guidelines state that urgent cases are supposed to be allocated to a social worker within 7 days of the original notification to CYFS.

"This is a recipe for disaster. We have a situation where over 300 cases were left unallocated a month after they were received, and 177 cases still hadn't been actioned two months after they were first lodged with the department.

"The Minister needs to tell taxpayers how she expects the creation of a giant welfare bureacracy will fix this all too common problem.

"To date, Ruth Dyson has been unable to provide any substantive detail on how the merger will work, who will benefit and how much it will cost.

"I also worry how the merger will impact on MSD, which is supposed to be implementing sweeping change, moving towards a poorly explained switch to a single benefit welfare system.

"With unemployment projected to rise, and with so much happening elsewhere in the welfare arena, Labour needs to front up with the research to prove that its tinkering won't cause more problems than it solves," says Ms Collins.

Parliamentary question 00692 (2006)

Question: What was the duration breakdown of the unallocated cases held by Child, Youth and Family categorised as Critical, as at the end of December 2005, broken down by the numbers over 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and every further 4 weeks up to and including the longest duration case?

Portfolio: Social Development & Employment (Associate Minister -
CYF/Disability Issues)

Minister: Hon Ruth Dyson

Date Lodged:20/02/2006

Answer Text: The attached table shows the duration of unallocated cases, by the monthly period in which they were received, which may differ slightly from the 4 week period requested by the member.
This response also answers written parliamentary questions 693, 694, 695 (2006).
Attachment: PQ 692 Table.doc
Date Received: 01/03/2006

Period notification received Critical Very Urgent Urgent Low Urgent
31 January 2005* 2 0 8 0
31 August 2005 0 0 7 4
30 September 2005 0 0 42 22
31 October 2005 0 0 177 73
30 November 2005 0 0 347 172
31 December 2005 2** 4 685 17

* The unallocated notifications data varies slightly from earlier published data due to data entry errors which were a result of January 2006 notifications being erroneously entered as January 2005. These errors have subsequently been rectified.

** Please note that cases which have been received and actioned will not register in the database as actioned until the data is entered into the electronic case management system, often the next day. Attention continues to focus on Critical notifications and if they are unable to be immediately allocated the safety of the child is still established in the 24 hour timeframe


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