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CYF's inconsistency raises credibility issues

Media Release:
28th June 2009

CYF's inconsistency raises credibility issues

This weekend it has been reported that a perfectly respectable family is being investigated by CYF after their 9 and 4 year-old children were allowed to play in a school park unsupervised. CYF are reported as saying “it had a duty to investigate.” "Sometimes, children playing unsupervised for long periods of time can be an indication that there are wider family issues that need to be addressed," said CYF general manager Lorraine Williams.

This follows hard on the heels of the father who was prosecuted after being seen “repeatedly pushing” his reluctant young son onto the football field – in this case CYF interviewed that family and were satisfied that the boy was at no further risk.

Christine Davey, SST Spokesperson on Drug Issues and Children's Welfare, would have no problem with CYF involvement in these cases, if it weren't for their inconsistency.

In the last few weeks we've heard of cases such as:

* The father of a seven-week-old baby girl left with a broken collar bone and femur after being dropped, who told police he was in the habit of grabbing her like a rugby ball when playing. Both parents are unemployed and on the methadone programme; both were convicted of wilful neglect and / or wilfully ill- treating their baby. The child remains in their custody.

* A 38-year-old Ranfurly woman who severely beat her seven- year-old son with a soup ladle has been remanded in custody. The boy, who received both external and internal bruising all over his body, has since been taken into the care of Child Youth and Family but the mother was still caring for several of his siblings.
The Judge denied bail, saying he did not understand the position of Child, Youth and Family, which provided supporting evidence for the bail application.

* The case of social workers taking four months to remove a wheelchair-bound boy from his home following allegations from the 8-year-old boy's teacher and school Principal, that he was was being beaten, burned and starved, based on their observation of bruising, drastic weight loss and what appeared to be cigarette burns. The teacher dealt with at least six CYF workers, whose attitude was “poor mum she's not coping". The mother now faces a charge of assault.

Combine those with the numerous cases of known substance abusers who are allowed to care for their children, which too often contributes to our appalling child abuse statistics.

Why are those families not thoroughly investigated and the children removed?

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is reported as wanting answers in the case of the wheelchair-bound boy – Ms Davey respectfully suggests that a lot more answers are required. There are enough questions to warrant yet another enquiry into the CYF culture which deems that “parents have the right to raise their children in any manner of their choosing, unless they cross a line of unacceptability”. A line which is apparently set by CYF, and which appears to be too high.

We all know the names of the children who die as a result of abuse – however we do not hear about all the children who survive their abuse, but remain damaged for life.

Ms Davey maintains that until CYF demonstrates consistency in their duty to protect ALL vulnerable children, they can expect to have little credibility.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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