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Turner seeks CYFS Complaints Authority

Media statement
For immediate release
Wednesday, 2 August 2006


Turner seeks CYFS Complaints Authority

United Future family spokesperson Judy Turner is calling for the creation of a complaints authority to provide an avenue for people who feel they have been unfairly treated by the Children's, Youth and Family Services.

"CYFS have statutory powers to legally uplift children from the care of their parents where it is considered the children are at risk.

"What I have discovered is that while the Children's Commission has legislative responsibilities to investigate complaints about the decisions made by CYFS as they pertain to children, there is no independent body that parents and other adult family members can turn to if they believe that they have been treated unjustly by the department.

"Like most other M.P.'s I have a steady stream of letters and e-mails from families who claim to have been poorly treated by CYFS, and while I am sure that not all of them would be upheld if subject to proper scrutiny, I worry about the ones that could well be genuine and for whom there is no opportunity for redress.

"By way of analogy, the New Zealand Police Complaints Authority handles about 2500 complaints a year.

"The Authority is independent and is staffed by 7 full time employees and costs just over $2 million per year to run. Approximately

- 50% of complaints are not upheld,

- 13% (on average 343 complaints per year) are upheld or are partially upheld

- The rest are neither upheld nor not upheld, but are resolved by conciliation or are dropped."

Mrs Turner would also like the government to fund the Children's Commission adequately for the investigative work it carries out now.


ENDS

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