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CYF's youth justice changes will not work

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Associate Welfare Spokeswoman

8 June 2006

CYF’s youth justice changes will not work

CYF Minister Ruth Dyson has failed to make any significant improvements in the youth justice sector despite having had three years and a funding increase of 50%, says National's Associate Welfare spokeswoman, Anne Tolley.

She is commenting on the release of the Youth Justice Capability Review.

“Ruth Dyson has had three years to implement the recommendations of the 2003 Baseline Review, but nothing has happened.

“Not only is this report nearly a year late, it has come to the same conclusions as the Baseline Review – that there is a lack of focus on youth justice within CYF, and that there is a tendency to use resources planned for youth justice to meet care and protection demands.

“Clearly, nothing has changed in the past three years, given the recommendation of the Capability Review that dedicated staff positions for youth justice be introduced.

“This review offers no long-term plan for youth justice and will do nothing to sort out the real problems. It throws more social workers into the field but offers no innovative thinking or options to deal with an increase in violence and offending.

“It will shuffle money around within CYF – and there is no guarantee it won't be diluted back into the wider care and protection of children.”

“Resources for youth justice need to be ring fenced and protected.

“If this Government was serious about youth justice it would have given it the attention it deserves - a dedicated response team overseen by the Ministry of Justice, clear accountabilities and a dedicated budget of its own.

“National backs the calls of Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft that responsibility for youth justice should be removed from CYF because it cannot balance it with its care and protection role.

“Labour have had seven years to get this sorted, after promising to ‘crack down’ on youth crime, and provide ‘more support for proven programmes to cut youth offending’.

“But since the Ministers’ Group on Youth Offending hasn’t met since 2003, this is clearly a Government that has given up.”

ENDS

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