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Creation of a CYFs complaints authority overdue

Creation of a CYFs complaints authority overdue

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Creation of a CYFs complaints authority long overdue

United Future deputy leader, Judy Turner, has renewed her calls for an independent body to be established to investigate complaints into the Child, Youth and Family agency.

"I am constantly inundated with cases from parents and grandparents who believe they have been unfairly treated by CYFs, and I know many other MPs experience the same from constituents all around the country.

"What is instantly apparent is that these people don't know where to turn with their grievances, or who to tell of their concerns. The short answer is that no such place exists to hear their cases except CYF itself. This is an unacceptable and unnecessary situation and should change now.

"Of course not all complaints will hold up to scrutiny, and I'm not about aiming criticism at CYF. But I am very concerned about the complaints that are genuine, and are not being heard.

"This is simply about ensuring accountability for a government body that has been given statutory powers to intervene in the most important part of people's lives ? their families."

Mrs Turner points to the Police Complaints Authority as an example of how such a body could operate.

"The PCA only cost $2.1m to run last year - but provides an invaluable service ensuring that the public know they have an avenue to follow if they feel maltreated by the police."

The PCA has upheld 343 complaints per year on average over the past five years, with many other complaints being resolved through conciliation.

"This is a very minimal cost, but performs a service both to the public and to the police themselves, as their credibility is strengthened by the existence of the PCA. I think that the same would apply for CYFs," says Mrs Turner.

ENDS

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