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Lost Tribe Of Children Raise Welfare Concerns

19 February 2008

Lost Tribe Of Children Raise Welfare Concerns

The existence of a “lost tribe” of children not currently enrolled at school should raise concerns about more than truancy, says New Zealand First social services spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“The Ministry of Education’s new centralised computer system automatically flags when a children is not enrolled at any school for 20 days. The new system will obviously pick up children who have previously slipped through the cracks.

“However even with the streamlined system there can be a wait of up to six months between a flag going up and investigators getting to the case.

“The majority of the missing children are probably being kept out of school for relatively benign purposes such as babysitting. However we cannot afford to presume that is the case with each and every one of them.

“In some cases there will be welfare issues which should be dealt with as soon as possible.

“We owe it to these children to do whatever is necessary to prevent them becoming the “unexploded human time bombs” described by the Principal Youth Court Judge and that may mean spending CYFS funds to do the job properly,” said Mrs Stewart.


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