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Child, Youth and Family lifts performance

14 October 2004

Child, Youth and Family lifts performance as demand grows

Child, Youth and Family has lifted service performance against a backdrop of increased public concern for children and young people, and unprecedented levels of demand for its services, Chief Executive Paula Tyler says in the Department’s annual report tabled in Parliament today.

In the year ended 30 June 2004, Child, Youth and Family received 43,314 notifications of possible abuse or neglect, far out-stripping the 31,781 notifications it received in 2002/03. The notifications related to 34,036 young people, 23 per cent more than the number covered by notifications in 2002/03.

The annual report shows that despite the increases, Child, Youth and Family managed to improve its response times for critical and very urgent cases during the year.

Paula Tyler says the challenge for Child, Youth and Family is to respond effectively to all children who are suspected of having been, or who are at risk of being harmed, and to do so in a way that ensures the services delivered by the Department are sustainable. In addition the Department must ensure its services are tailored to meet the specific needs of distinct client groups.

To support this, the Government is currently considering amendments to the Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989 to provide a wider range of possible responses to community concerns about children and young people. The proposed changes will authorise non-governemnt organisations approved under the Act to carry out some non-investigation services on Child, Youth and Family’s behalf.

“Our overall aim is that the right services reach the right children and young people in a more timely way,” Ms Tyler says.

In order to improve overall service quality in the short term, Child, Youth and Family has engaged additional social workers, provided extra front line support and provided additional funding for services such as holding family group conferences and implementing social work plans and orders.

Ms Tyler says that considerable work has been undertaken during the year on inter-sectorial work with other government agencies including the Ministries of Health and Education on programmes such as Family Start, Social Workers in Schools, the High and Complex needs initiative and disability services, the Police on family violence work, and the Department of Corrections on the Reducing Youth Offending Programme.

“The Department’s progress to date has been made possible through the dedication and commitment of Child, Youth and Family’s staff,” she says.

“As Chief Executive, it is my aim to ensure that the Department continues on its path of positive development and is able to grasp the opportunities before it to play a strong and effective role in New Zealand society.”

ENDS

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