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The Minister Of No-Answers


28 July 2000

Rosemarie Thomas
Social Services Spokesperson


Social Services Minister, Mr Maharey’s ‘attack’ on Social Workers in the Child, Youth and Family Services is uninformed and harsh claims Christian Heritage Social Services spokesperson Rosemarie Thomas.

“His call for registering Social Workers shows that the minister has no other answers left.

“Mr Maharey lacks understanding of the complications of the Hiroki rape case and the difficulties of real-life professional social work.

“Mike Doolan, the Chief Social Worker for CYFA, took responsibility for his department’s failure in handling the 14 year old’s case but claimed that the Social Worker involved had made a terrible mistake but still had a good record of service.” Rosemarie Thomas said.

“Social Workers particularly are prone to these mistakes due to the immense pressure under which they are placed, the stresses of working with broken families and traumatised children and young people.

“The reality for Social Workers is that they are overworked, under resourced and expected to solve all human problems when they work with extremely complex circumstances that demand great emotional stability and control.

“Our Social Workers are expected not only to do all their paper work but to be available to their clients twenty four hours a day, to cope with every client’s pain and problem, to put people’s lives on track and to coordinate with all related groups to solve complex conflicts. Our Social Workers ARE professionals and one mistake should not devalue the skills and experience of all persons in this profession.

“The creation of a register system does not solve Mr Maharey’s problem of ‘unacceptable’ mistakes – human error cannot be alleviated no matter how much planning is done. This is exactly why the Christian Heritage does not expect the registration of Social Workers to solve any problems facing the delivery of social services in New Zealand.

“Of concern is the implication from the Minister’s comments that “harm resulting from poor social work practice is intolerable,” and “there have been concerns about the public credibility of the social work profession” implies that Social Workers are unqualified. “For the Minister then to suggest that somehow registration will solve the problems is simply ridiculous. Has he ever considered that his department is seriously under resourced?

“All this process would do is create yet another administrative hurdle for Social Workers.

“The Christian Heritage Party recommends that if Mr Maharey goes further with his proposals to register Social Workers, he may also want to consider why tertiary institutions are severely cutting funding for social science subjects in favour of commerce and other sciences. If people with such skills are so vital for our justice and welfare system, then their training should be better resourced and valued nationally.

“The Christian Heritage Party also believes that it is high time that the Government started to acknowledge the importance of stable families. It is a proven fact that the best environment for protecting children is a marriage relationship. So why then do we not see more encouragement for marriage.” Rosemarie Thomas concluded.

Contact: Rosemarie Thomas can be contact on either 04 939 8466 or 025 846 625
Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766

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