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Turner exposes CYFS crisis

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Turner exposes CYFS crisis

United Future family spokesperson Judy Turner today revealed the entire oversight panel in Tauranga that reviews the work of the Child, Youth and Family Service in the city has been sacked - by the Tauranga CYFS site manager.

"I'm informed this extraordinary action was taken because the manager thought the panel was too confrontational and too critical of CYFS staff," said Mrs Turner.

"The job of the Care & Protection Resource Panel is to advise social workers responding to notifications, and to ensure that the standard of social work practice is sufficient to ensure the safety of children.

"The panel has recently criticised the decision by site management to withhold some notifications from the panel, where the decision by social workers was to close the notification.

"The panel believed that this may lead to unsafe practises for children. Even when an attempt was made to rectify this concern, the panel still ended up being expected to rubber stamp cases that had been already closed, contrary to the Act, which requires the panel to provide advice on all notifications.

"The problem seems to be driven by a government policy that requires there to be no unallocated cases.

"This sees social workers focusing on output rather than outcomes based on quality social work. Even once an intervention has happened, the department seems to change gear and focus on their new policy of strongly encouraging foster parents to assume the care of the children under the Care of Children Act, a policy driven by budgetary aims rather than the best interests of children.

"The Tauranga Resource Panel certainly seemed very concerned about inadequate social work in many cases.

"I am concerned that the site manager has been able to fire the entire panel against the Department's own guidelines which state that a third of the panel must be retained.

"Surely we don't want to see these panels muzzled in any way that ends up making a mockery of the whole process.

"This is surely further evidence of the urgent need for an independent complaints authority to look into complaints against CYFS," said Mrs Turner.

ENDS

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