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Need for complaints authority

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

CYF intervention shows need for complaints authority

Figures showing that 255 infants were removed from their parents by Child, Youth and Family Services in the year ending June, are a great example of why an independent complaints authority is urgently needed for the department, according to United Future deputy leader Judy Turner.

“This is a large increase from past years, probably as a result of an increased awareness from both workers involved and the community. Early intervention in most cases is paramount for the safety of the children – but what about the cases when CYF have got it wrong?” says Mrs Turner.

“Parents are, and should be, accountable to CYF, but who is CYF accountable to?” asks Mrs Turner.

“We need an independent complaints authority to provide an avenue for parents and others who believe there has been incorrect procedure, decisions or have other complaints.

“This is not a criticism of CYF staff at all; I am simply saying that both the CYF service and New Zealand families would benefit from an independent body, so why does one not exist?

“I don’t think people would want a police force accountable to nobody, and that is why we established a Police Complaints Authority.

"In many cases, CYF staff are given the power to act as police, judge and jury, and yet there is nowhere to turn with a complaint for those affected, except back to CYF themselves," says Mrs Turner.

ENDS

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