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Sowry Pleased Labour Support For Social Initiaves

Phil Goff's support for Government social policy initiatives is encouraging, but it's disappointing there's no new ideas Labour's youth offending policy being announced this afternoon, said Social Services Minister, Roger Sowry.

"I'm always open to new ideas, but Mr Goff doesn't appear to have any," Mr Sowry said.

It's interesting there's no indication of how much money Labour are promising - especially as it's one of the key election platforms listed on Labour's credit card.

Since Mr Sowry has been its Minister, CYPFA has had its baseline funding increased by $130 million, plus Government has put an extra $54 million into Family Start and Social Workers in Schools in the Budget.

"I have to say Labour's track record in this area isn't flash."

"Michael Cullen closed around 300 residential beds in 1990 alone in his stint as Minister, and it's taken a huge amount of time and money for us to open new ones over the past few years.

"When CYPFA tries to open a residence where these kids can stay safe and get help, Labour MP's are out there trying to stop us, particularly Police spokesman George Hawkins.

"We're only months off opening the country's first purpose-built, secure facility for young offenders in Palmerston North, have one in Christchurch underway and are plannng yet another secure facility.

"Earlier this year we brought in specialised training programmes for foster parents and caregivers, we've been funding Wraparound for ages, we've funded Iwi and Maori social service groups to work with young people, we've just launched a major abuse and neglect prevention campaign,”

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