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Another tragedy in the making with CYFS

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The Department of Child, Youth and Family Services has placed a teenage boy with a sister just out of jail, whose own children are in care, Labour's social welfare spokesperson Steve Maharey has been told.

The boy is an elder brother of a 14-year-old recently placed with Dean Hiroki, a gang member with a criminal record. Hiroki took the boy out on the town in Wellington to rape a woman at knifepoint.

"CYFS' handling of these boys is beyond belief," Mr Maharey says. "The younger boy faces seven and a half years in jail. His older brother has been placed with a woman who was judged incapable of taking care of her own children.

"Only a system that has completely disintegrated could produce a result like that. Nine years of underfunding by National has dragged CYFS to rock bottom."

Mr Maharey said the situation was made worse by the information that the boy now in jail could have been placed elsewhere.

"My information from family connections is that the boy has a relative in the East Coast region who agreed to foster him. She believes he would not be in jail and a woman would not have been raped if he had been placed with her.

"CYFS knew of this woman but messed up preparations to place the boy with her. Internal politics and inept management decisions appear to be the cause."

The placement of the older boy in his sister's care must urgently be reviewed, Mr Maharey says.

"It is also time for Social Services Minister Roger Sowry to order a proper investigation of CYFS' handling of the younger boy. An apology from the department is not good enough. If the department's incompetence resulted in a woman being raped and a teenage boy being led into serious crime by a gang member, heads must roll."

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