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Turner: Govt spot on picking up UF CYFS policy

Wednesday, 15 September, 2004

Turner: Govt spot on picking up UF CYFS policy

Two simple statistics explain why the Government has made a wise decision in picking up United Future's policy for restructuring CYFS, most notably the use of NGOs to pick up its less critical intervention work, United Future's Judy Turner said today.

"Firstly, some 99 percent of the cases that come before CYFS are at the lower end of the criticality spectrum and could be picked up by NGOs and community organisations before they become critical," Mrs Turner said.

"Secondly, recent New Zealand research indicates that for ever dollar provided to a NGO voluntary agency, between $3 and $5 worth of services are delivered to the community.

"So we're talking about improved efficiency, which in the case CYFS' role, is no mere bureaucratic measuring stick. It is about families being helped, lives being improved and, in some cases, saved," Mrs Turner said.

"When we have NGOs making inroads into the 99 percent of cases that have weighed CYFS down, and bringing their practised efficiency to bear, we have the start of the solution to our national child tragedy," she said.

The Government announced last week that it would take up two key United Future policy planks as amendments to the CYF Act to allow NGOs to be contracted to do some CYFS work and to take on a differential intake system, promoted by United Future, to allow child protection work to be undertaken with greater urgency.

CYFS would be more able to concentrate its resources on urgent child protection work, relieved of the burden of the hugely important, but less urgent, early intervention work."

Child protection needed to remain a CYFS statutory responsibility given its intrusive and at times coercive nature, and the intensive investigation work often required, Mrs Turner said.

"But finally, we may have an organisation capable of doing that job properly."


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