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Independent Investigation Into CYF Phone Call

Media Release
17 October 2003

CYF Announces Independent Investigation Into Phone Call

Child, Youth and Family chief executive Jackie Pivac today announced an urgent investigation into the handling of a phone call that Ron Burrows, father of Coral, made to the Department on 21 January 2003.

The phone call, which was handled by the Department’s national call centre, was identified during a detailed check of Child, Youth and Family’s telephone records undertaken by the Department and TelstraClear.

“Mr Burrows’ call was not recorded on the computer system. This system is used to record phone calls that social workers have decided need to be followed up by the department.

“However, further analysis of our phone records has shown that Mr Burrows did make a call of around 21 minutes to the call centre on that day. Attempts to identify the social worker who took the call are continuing.

“I apologise to Mr Burrows and his family for any distress caused by previous public comments by the Department saying that we had no record of the call,” Ms Pivac said.

“I am setting up an independent investigation to determine whether our recording systems for phone calls are sufficiently robust, whether Mr Burrows’ call was handled appropriately, and whether this incident is symptomatic of wider problems in the Department.

“The investigation will headed by Auckland QC Ailsa Duffy and will begin as soon as possible. Its terms of reference will be announced next week and its findings will be made public.

“Child, Youth and Family will take full responsibility for any deficiencies in our processes that the investigation might find. I want to know if mistakes have been made or improved processes are needed and will move quickly to address these issues so the community can be reassured the Department is doing all in its power to keep children safe.”


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